I think that in order to figure out the personality of an artist such as Chelsea Wolfe, you need to comprehend her work. When it comes to an introvert character such as hers, it is not so easy, but this also explains a lot about her music, especially when it comes to ‘Hiss Spun‘ which for me is so emotional and is a personal favourite. Like many artists, Wolfe doesn’t prefer a specific genre to represent, and that is obvious in her albums. However, her music does not apply to the masses, it is not mainstream. It can’t be because as she has claimed, ‘when something seems so perfect, she will try to fuck it up a bit‘.

Hiss Spun‘ is the first personal album for Chelsea Wolfe. While she dealt lyrically with “bigger” concepts before, in this album she shares personal feelings, behind a small crack though. What is known, is that she collaborates in ‘Hiss Spun‘ with good friends and bandmates and musicians she appreciates: Jess Gowrie on drums, Ben Chisholm, Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens Of The Stone Age) on guitars, and Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom) on guest vocals on ‘Vex‘. The result is once again magical. Like slow rock n roll in some parts, somehow agonising, with the known mesmerizing voice of Wolfe. Returning to her roots (Northern California), she created a memory album where all her musical influences, friends, family and various incidents are combined resulting in songs of escape.

Songs like ‘16 Psyche‘ which hikes the album up with its grunge-y guitars, ‘Vex‘ which shows the metal influences, and not because of the growling vocals of Turner (you just have to listen carefully to the structure of this song). Then comes ‘The Culling‘ in which the beat on the breakdown is the processing of howling coyotes and motorcycle sounds, made by Chisholm. ‘Partical Flux‘, which also stands out, has a more electronic vibe sampled by the sound of Wolfe’s fingers tapping on a Walt Whitman’s book. The album closes with ‘Scrape‘ in a rather agonising way. Wolfe stated that this song was an exorcism she needed. The guitars are scratching, like the rats in the wall as the song says, and Chelsea exits the song with her higher soprano notes.

According to Chelsea Wolfe the title of the album is a combination of two words, with “hiss” describing the white noise of the universe and the life force, and “spun” being the addiction and the withdrawals. This kind of contrasted duality appears on the cover artwork, and of course in the album. Let yourself escape and eventually disappear as you listen to it.

Mary Kalaitzidou