More often then not in this day and age of music, bands will go for what I like to call ‘the single approach,’ or perfecting one of their songs so that it attracts the ears of potential listeners, and then failing to provide an album that matches the excellence of the single, or culminates with the other songs for a thematic approach. Regardless of what the rest of the music world is doing, Chelsea Wolfe seems to be dedicated to doing things her way, which means an album Ἀποκάλυψις (pronounced apokalypsis) themed around darkness.
If the album title wasn’t enough, or even the track titles, to prove that this is a deeply sinister work, then the first noises you hear should do the trick. The first ‘song’ on the album, or the twenty-five second screeching noises entitled “Primal/Carnal,” sounds exactly like the title entails; an animal coming to life, but not just any animal, more specifically going off Wolfe’s outwardly dark themes. After this introductory track, “Mer,” the first real song kicks in and instantly Wolfe’s vocals hook, oozing with haunting qualities. It is much akin to that of Jenn Wasner from Wye Oak, which is obviously not a bad thing, as the female powerhouse vocal is never something to sneeze at, especially when its sweetness is juxtaposed against grungy instrumentals. Meanwhile, in the background, you have simmering cymbals and slowly effervescing guitar parts that provide a dark ambient folk/rock/pop vibe.
As aforementioned, Ἀποκάλυψις doesn’t really follow the pattern of one song standing apart from the others. Rather, it is the opposite, in that in order to absorb the rich, heavy and blackness of Wolfe’s gothic rock, you need to listen to the whole album, all the way through. Sure, like most records, you’ll pick out your favorite song, but there is a general sense of atmosphere required on all of the songs that makes it difficult to really immerse yourself in this kind of music without some preface or transition into. In effect, this phenomenon is probably the most unique and alluring factor of Chelsea’s work, and its cohesiveness is a lovely break from the banality of albums that just sit as a collection of similar sounding songs.
I won’t lie to you and say that this is a light effort, in the slightest. Instead, it is one of the more solid pieces of music that you will find these days. However, if you are ready to sit down and just soak up all of the darkness that Chelsea Wolfe is doling out, then this should be a beautiful album for you to relish in.
Download: Chelsea Wolfe – Advice and Vices [MP3]