Monday, February 28, 2011

i like Chelsea Wolfe: The Grime and The Glow & Ἀποκάλυψις

Everything about Chelsea Wolfe has come off as mysterious, and at some points even a little confusing. There was series of videos that looked like they could give even Freddy Kruger a nightmare. Her promotional photos frequently feature Wolfe out of focus or as a shadowy figure in the distance, almost in a matter to mask her identity. Then her debut album officially dropped the very last week of 2010, missing any of the end-of/best-of the year buzz that it should have garnered. One thing that has no mystery is the simple fact that her music is gorgeous.

Wolfe’s debut The Grime and The Glow has a lot of haunting echoes to it, both literally and figuratively. Wolfe’s ethereal voice creeps from out of the air like full moon lit incantations of a witchcraft ritual buried deep in the woods. The lo-fi production further clouds her with despair making each song sound like its a plea sung from the deathbed. On a song like “Noorus” she is able to conjure up angst and anger at PJ Harvey levels. The piano driven "Benjamin" and lullaby “Halfsleeper” create folk ballads as bare boned as Marissa Nadler. Tracks like “Deep Talks” and “Widow” are both frightening and mesmerizing in their pure goth madness.

Ἀποκάλυψις, which translates to Apocalypse, either predates or succeeds The Grime depending on where you look (this is where the confusion comes in). The production of this album definitely feels like a sophomore effort, as some songs reappear more polished and cleaner. All the dark elements are still present. There are plenty images of the antichrist, demons, and Moses on both. But here Wolfe’s vocals have been brought to the forefront more, so when she says a line like “We could be two straight lines in a crooked world,” we feel the full effect of its recluse emotion.

The two albums are lush introductions to the frightening world of Chelsea Wolfe. With the sudden reemergence of goth in the indie scene, these are essential. The Grime and The Glow is available on limited-edition vinyl from Pendu Sound, and digitally with bonus tracks at the usual online retailers. Ἀποκάλυψις is currently only available via bandcamp. [UPDATE 3.06.11: Ἀποκάλυψις is no longer available on bandcamp as it will soon be released on vinyl by Pendu Sound.]

...and now here are some creepy videos.

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