If pain was a woman's voice, it would sound like Chelsea Wolfe. That's a compliment. I should stipulate that she doesn't always strike as being pained, but listen to the tortured moments of "Dragged Out." That's fucking pain. It's excruciating! I was nearly brought to tears the first time I heard the second verse. When she intones "I'm so tired/I'm so tired," you believe her ass. You can picture tears fluxing down her delicate, milk-white face in the vocal booth. Have I said that I'm in love with Chelsea? Because I am, and I'm currently fighting over her with two of my female Facebook buddies. Back off, girls! She's mine!
If you haven't heard of Miss Wolfe, I don't want to waste time on you. Sorry. I know that's blunt, but I think of Wolfe as a modern day Tori Amos, only less pretentious. She appeals to metalheads, and this album is especially heavy. Sonically, it's half-ambient and half-doom. That doesn't begin to describe the olfactory bassinet of genres at work. There are ribbons of experimental noise, electronic beats, acoustic guitars and black metal mist suffusing the sludge of Wolfe's otherworldly despair. With titles such as "Simple Death," "Grey Days," "Color of Blood" and of course, "The Abyss," you can bank on Abyss sucking the life out of you. In a good way!
These are terribly depressing tunes, which is one of the reasons why I heart them. I'm not saying that this is a perfect record. Well, maybe I am. I don't know what I'm saying. I do feel confident intimating that Abyss is Chelsea Wolfe's most realized long player yet. She seems to be annealing as a songwriter. 2013's Pain is Beauty was an artistic apogee that saw the former folk singer nuzzle techno vibes, and I fucking dug it. Heh, techno...what a 90's word. Does anyone say "techno" anymore or is it trap? Dubstep? Trance? Argh, you kids with your rave drugs and your Die Antwoord dotage.
Abyss opens with the braying industrialization of "Carrion Flowers," a ditty that serves as this disc's "Feral Love." From there, the listener is clubbed over the head with a pair of distortion dirges. "Iron Moon" was the first track manumitted onto the webbed nets, and yeah, it rocks. I already told you about "Dragged Out." "Maw" is our first encounter with balladry; it reminds me of something off of Unknown Rooms, Wolfe's set of unplugged rarities. Favorites? Holy shit, people. Promise me you'll hit YouTube to savor "Simple Death." Here...HERE. I just did the legwork for you, and I can't use my goddamn legs! What's your excuse now?
Oh, you don't give a shit? That's actually a decent excuse. I do give a shit, so I'm breaking out five fresh Abbaths. Cue the drumfire.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 5:55 PM