Hiss Spun

Artist: 
Chelsea Wolfe
Non-Airable Tracks: 
12
Label: 
Sargent House
Album Art: 

The beauty that is Chelsea Wolfe's music is extremely hard to categorize. Her earlier albums such as The Grime and the Glow and Apokalypsis flirted with what has been described as "gothic rock" and folk music, Unknown Rooms was a beuaitful and haunting collection of acoustic songs, while Pain is Beauty and Abyss switched it up by experimenting with electronics and heavy metal. Wolfe has always had an affinity with metal music, but has never fully embraced the genre. Her latest and sixth entry to her discography, Hiss Spun, has turned the dial up a notch, and is her heaviest and most fully realized record to date.

 

Ms. Wolfe has described themes of this album as both "personal and familial", while also going deeper in her battle with anxiety and insomnia. The first track off the album, "Spun", is a slow and sludgy track that slowly builds up a feeling of anxiety. Wolfe has always had amazingly strong opening songs, and this continues this welcomed trend. The next track is lead single "16 Psyche". There is a reason that this song was chosen as the lead single, and that's because this track fucking SHREDS. With a guest guitar spot by Queens of the Stone Age's Troy Van Leeuwen and her beautiful siren-style vocals, this song is a lovely heavier track that is a clear callback to the music of the nineties such as Nine Inch Nails and Tool. Next we have “Vex”, which showcases Wolfe’s soprano vocals at her finest. This song features guest vocals from Aaron Turner, best known as the vocalist for post-metal bands Isis and Sumac. His stark, black metal style growls work very well with Wolfe’s lovely clean vocals, creating an eerie atmosphere that surprised the hell out of me on the first listen. 

 

The first half of the album is fairly fast-paced, but the middle of the record slows down the pace a bit, although not entirely too much. This section of songs honestly has some of the best songs Chelsea Wolfe has ever crafted, and that’s saying something coming from a HUGE fan. Centerpiece “The Culling” reminds me of an older song of hers called “Pale On Pale”. It starts of slow, and slowly builds up into a crescendo of sheer, melodic heaviness. The repetition of the lines “Flux, hiss, welt, groan” in the outro seem to be integral to the overall concept of the album, and I would love to know the meaning behind this. “Twin Fawn” is the closest we get to her early folk roots, and starts as a fairly quiet track with soft, hush vocals... only soon to erupt into the loud and heavy chorus that absolutely caught me off guard on the first listen. This song absolutely KILLS live, and showcases some of the best guitars on the record. My personal favorite, “Static Hum”, is another song that has amazing buildup, and some of my favorite lyrics from the album, such as “Ire restrained / I’m ready to let it go / I’m ready to fall apart”. The final track on the record, “Scrape”, is definitely the most intense song on the record. The lyrics are extremely unsettling, but her vocals go higher and higher and the guitars and drums get louder and louder, only to end the anxiety of it all abruptly. 

 

Overall, Hiss Spun features some of the most intense and artistic songs to be released by Chelsea Wolfe in her entire career. I may sound like a fan boy, but this is clearly her best and most cohesive album as a whole, and she only keeps getting better and better, never ceasing to snatch me bald. Seeing these songs performed live only furthered my appreciation for this record, and I can’t stop listening to it. This may be an unsettling listen for first time listeners, but I can assure you that it is an experience that won’t be easily forgotten. This will most likely end up being my album of the year, it's THAT amazing in my honest and humble opinion. Hiss Spun is definitely one of the most creative albums released this year thus far, and there is no else like Chelsea Wolfe in the game in this very moment. 

 
Sounds Like: 
Nine Inch Nails
Sounds Like: 
PJ Harvey
Sounds Like: 
Zola Jesus
Recommended Tracks: 
2. 16 Psyche - This is the lead single for a reason. This song showcases some of the best vocals and musicianship from Chelsea Wolfe in a single song.
5. The Culling - This track is essential. Slowly builds up into a heavy, melodic piece of music.
7. Twin Fawn - Starts off quiet, then suddenly bursts your ear drums. Listen and you'll find out what I mean.
9. Static Hum - Absolutely beautiful. So melodic, yet heavy and intense.
Name: 
Roy Santa Cruz
Date Reviewed: 
10/10/2017