Chelsea Wolfe’s ‘Hiss Spun’ sounds hypnotic and enveloping

Annie Zaleski

Chelsea Wolfe Hiss Spun

Four stars

Chelsea Wolfe’s haunting music has always defied categorization—metal-tinged indie-folk or doom-drenched electro-goth come close—although even her heaviest moments have more nuance and range than most. Her fifth studio record, Hiss Spun, is no different in terms of leveraging dynamic atmospheres: “Twin Fawn” begins as sparse post-rock with whispering percussion and vocals before getting engulfed by a firestorm of crashing guitars, while “Offering” offers a striking contrast between ghostly singing and industrial-twitched beats that perforate like heavy machinery.

Thanks to production by Converge’s Kurt Ballou and a couple of well-placed musical guests, Hiss Spun boasts Wolfe’s most aggressive sonic flourishes yet. The serpentine “16 Psyche” features A Perfect Circle’s Troy van Leeuwen on lead guitar, while tornadic dirge “Vex” features a brutal, gruff vocal cameo from Isis’ Aaron Turner. Even more punishing is the buzzing, six-minute “The Culling,” a dull metallic drone elevated by roaring noise and Wolfe ending the song by repeating the words “flux, hiss, welt groan” like she’s chanting a spell. As that song implies, Hiss Spun’s darkness is hypnotic and enveloping.

Tags: Music, Album
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