Feature by: Sarah Vardy
Feature photo credit: Shaina Hedlund
Album artwork courtesy of Artist

Rolling Stone calls it “her darkest, heaviest and most personal album yet” and noted that first single “Iron Moon” was “a haunting, doomy exercise in loud-quiet-loud dynamics.”

Chelsea Wolfe’s latest album Abyss is an obscure hole that draws you in to a perilous land of decay where existence and the illusory are hazy. Death, drugs and electrified rock drill out an intricate route of soundscapes and dark intensity. The album starts out with an industrial tone and the lethal first track Carrion Flowers. The journey continues into a sound terrain littered with overdriven guitars, noise and shifting layers of rich instrumentation. Rarefied, creepy live instrumentation and eclectic midi programming blend into the marsh of melody where Wolfe’s transcendent voice reigns supreme. The industrial pace slows a little to a tranquil balladry by the time the fourth track Maw kicks in, almost as if the initial struggle is over and the surrender to the deep, blackness of the unknown is embraced. Don’t be alarmed; the battle doesn’t end there within Abyss. A series of gloomy events and excursions ensue with a myriad of haunting compositional elements built on a gulf encircled by anxiety and release. The final track The Abyss culminates the overriding essence of trying to make sense of chaos through loss with a riotous piano loop and mystifying melodic arrangement.

Abyss bestows a fusion of well-crafted sounds exploring the ephemeral, doomy side of actuality. Death and the afterlife are recurring themes on Abyss, which rise up hypnotically using Wolfe’s vocals as a vehicle. The rhythmic elements of the tracks are intriguing as each song leaps into a diverse segment making it hard to draw your ears away as it’s uncertain what will unfold next. Wolfe was provoked in part to create Abyss due to her struggle with sleep paralysis and the implied zone amid dreams and reality. To summon the demons living in this halfway stretch, Wolfe worked with multi-instrumentalist and co-writer Ben Chisholm, Dylan Fujioka on drums, Ezra Buchla on viola and Mike Sullivan (Russian Circles) on guitar. The group recorded with producer John Congleton (Swans, St. Vincent) in Dallas, TX.

Overall Abyss is reminiscent of a culmination amongst the ghosts of Souxsie Sioux, Sleigh Bells and Lana Del Ray. Abyss is officially released on Friday the 7th of August 2015.

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One Comment

  • Scott Allsebrooke says:

    This is the kind of music that keeps me interested in life. Never boring, always provocative. (“innovative is so over-used”)
    I would give this 4 stars, easily.

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