by Tony MurilloChelsea Wolfe has evaded genre labels since she released her debut studio album in 2010. Her fans have frequently dubbed her dark style of music “doom-folk.” While she fits the aesthetic for the metal music genre, her sound has never fit that bill. Adding elements of industrial to her previous two efforts, Wolfe’s music became heavier, but never reached the metal threshold. Released Sept. 22, “Hiss Spun” is the closest she’s ever danced with metal.
The album opener “Spun” kicks down the door with a swirling sludge metal riff. This sets the tone for what’s to come. Wolfe’s haunting vocals float through the pounding drums and sinister guitar like a specter roaming the skies. The album is a well-crafted blend of the fragile and the heavy.
Wolfe mixes the crushing and the beautiful to create an ominous gem. Tracks like “Twin Fawn” show Wolfe’s penchant for creating gorgeous tracks. Her voice shimmers across delicate guitars before exploding into its magnificent chorus. “Hiss Spun” manages to balance fuzzed-out guitars with serene soundscapes. This special blend is sewn together with Wolfe’s eerie vocals in another stunning performance. Her voice is both powerful and beautiful, gracefully weaving through the thunderous instrumentation. Wolfe cements herself as one of the finest singers today with her latest project.
Emotion ties together this voyage into darkness. Lyrics such as, “You carrier, you’ll never see, what came undone, what you took from me,” from the album closer “Scrape,” showcase Wolfe’s potent lyricism. Wolfe’s dark, almost cold, image may shroud her in mystique but here she pours herself into personal pieces such “Hiss Spun,” allowing listeners to gaze into her soul. The foreboding sound is the perfect vehicle for her intimate lyrics.
The production and mixing deserve recognition. Creative choices like sampling the sound of her running her fingers over a Walt Whitman book in “Particle Flux,” according to Billboard.com, make for a distinct sonic experience. Every element sounds clear, from the soul-shaking drums to the syrupy guitars. Much care went into making “Hiss Spun” sound the way it does. Full of passion, it’s a fine addition to Wolfe’s stellar discography.
Artist: Chelsea Wolfe
Album: Hiss Spun
Release Date: Sept. 22, 2017
Murillo is a freshman studying liberal arts at Lewis Clark State College. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.