Project Description

CHELSEA WOLFEHiss Spun (Album Review)- 21/09/17



Chelsea Wolfe

Chelsea Wolfe – Photo by Nick Fancher




Chelsea Wolfe’s previous album, Abyss, was a dark opus of majestic proportions which saw  the singer-songwriter embrace a much heavier sound than in the past. Channelling both sludge metal and experimental electronics, Abyss was a groundbreaking record for Wolfe that would be hard to top. She has now taken things one step further with her new album, Hiss Spun.

Multi-instrumentalist and longtime collaborator Ben Chisholm is back once again for this record, adding his distinctive distorted bass and has weaved many field recordings & samples (including the howl of a coyote outside Wolfe‘s house) throughout the album. Former bandmate Jess Gowrie was recruited to lend his heavy drumming style and legendary Queens Of The Stone Age/Failure/A Perfect Circle guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen plays on the first three tracks of Hiss Spun. The record was produced by Kurt Ballou of 90’s metalcore veterans Converge.


Chelsea Wolfe – Photo by Ben Chisholm


The opening track Spun is a slow burn wave of distortion, punctuated by Gowrie‘s rhythmic drumming acting as a perfect backdrop for Wolfe‘s porcelain vocals and Van Leeuwen’s melodic guitar. 16 Psyche raises the bar in the doom metal stakes as Wolfe soars over the top of crashing guitars, dirge laden bass and some incendiary percussion from Gowrie. Whilst Vex is a more subdued affair, the terrifying bellows of guest vocalist Aaron Turner from post metal band Isis reminds the listener to not let down their guard just yet.

Wolfe said that she wanted to look inwards on this record, into the soul, to escape from the overwhelming negativity that we have to deal with on a daily basis.  This comes to the fore in the opening lyrics of Particle Flux where she opined  “Though you try to swallow me whole, I succumb to nothing, my shelter come with me, you know in this hell, I am torn”. The soul searching is also reflected in the haunting fairy tale timbre of her voice on Twin Fawn, The Offering and Static Hum with the hefty low-end bass being replaced with subtle guitar melodies that build up into operatic crescendos.

The caustic solemn tonality of Scrape with its tribal drumming signifies not only the end of the album, but more poignantly, Wolfe’s inner journey. Hiss Spun is a bewitching force of nature that glides between the light and the dark, emotionally rejecting the status quo whilst trying to forge its own reality.




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