Chelsea Wolfe Sounds Like: Lorde if she was actually goth, evil Björk on downers
For Fans of: PJ Harvey, Jarboe, Zola Jesus
Why You Should Pay Attention: She’s the reigning dark priestess of goth-scarred art rock, romanticizing “Grey Days” and “Simple Death” in hazy, haunting songs that span grinding industrial, sparse folk, doomy metal and droning noise. It’s foreboding stuff — and yet Queens of the Stone Age took her out on tour and the producers of Game of Thrones chose a track of hers (2013’s “Feral Love”) for the series’ Season Four trailers. Wolfe’s latest record, Abyss, is her most intense and dynamic yet. “We’ve been touring a lot for the past few years so I think naturally I had it in my head that I wanted my new album to have songs that would translate well live,” she says. “And what I was writing about was really heavy, so even the more subdued songs have that feeling to them.”
She Says: The album’s heavy subject matter includes Wolfe’s lifelong struggle with sleep paralysis, a phenomenon in which a person is unable to move or speak while passing between wakefulness and slumber; it’s often accompanied by a sensation of bodily pressure or choking, as well as terrifying hallucinations. “I’ve always had sleep and dream issues, since I was a kid,” Wolfe says. “I’ve dealt with sleep paralysis for a long time and recently starting talking about it with other people, comparing experiences. I didn’t set out to channel it into the music, it’s just, I think having that connection to an in-between state for so many years started creeping into the way I wrote about things — sometimes the anxiety or strangeness of it would follow me into my day.”
Hear for Yourself: Wolfe strings gossamer vocals over metal-on-metal scraping and piston-pumping percussion on Abyss’ unnerving yet strangely seductive opener “Carrion Flowers."
by Brandon Geist