Chelsea Wolfe is a name I’ve heard a lot over the last two years. However, I somehow managed to avoid consciously hearing any of her material until very recently. I wound up watching a trailer for the upcoming season of Game of Thrones a few days ago, which featured ‘Feral Love’, the opening track of Pain is Beauty, which she released back in September.
I was instantly taken in; I wound up having to re-watch the trailer, as I had spent most of the first viewing focused on the music. I then immediately went to BandCamp, and I’ve listened to the album in its entirety perhaps a dozen times since (though, some of my favorite tracks have been replayed a little more often than others).
Defining Chelsea’s style is not easy; she seems to draw inspiration from a broad variety of genres, and the occasional bouts of experimentation shake up any attempts to pin her style down.
The folk elements of her music became clear to me rather quickly, but there’s more to her music than that. Her often reverb-heavy and melancholic vocals (as well as some unusual progressions and melodies) contribute towards a somewhat ethereal and sometimes haunting quality, but to describe her music as ‘dark folk’ wouldn’t quite do it justice either; from rather unconventional song structures to the occasional use of elements of electronic music (The Warden may be the best example of this), samples and strings, her music can have a rather experimental quality.
Listening to this album has been an absolute pleasure, but there are four tracks that stand head and shoulders above the rest (at least, as far as I’m concerned). Feral Love, House of Metal, Sick (the last half in particular) and Lone are, at the moment, four of my favorite tracks from 2013 (with House of Metal being my favorite of the four). It’s a pity I took so long to find them.
Vincent Hughes | Website