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Alternative & Indie - Released September 22, 2017 | Sargent House

On Hiss Spun, Chelsea Wolfe goes even deeper, darker, and heavier with her music than she did on Abyss. To help her reach these depths, she assembled a murderer's row of metal talent: In addition to longtime collaborator Ben Chisholm and drummer Jess Gowrie, with whom she'd been in a band years before, she recruited Converge's Kurt Ballou, Queens of the Stone Age's Troy Van Leeuwen, and Aaron Turner of Isis, Sumac, and Old Man Gloom. Somehow, the heavier Wolfe's music gets, the more eloquence and nuance she finds in its sheer volume. She wastes no time introducing Hiss Spun's crushing weight with "Spun," which sounds exactly like the "heavy love" she sings about. It's equally glorious and ominous, with something erotic and all-consuming in its slowly swaying beat, beautifully sinister guitars, and Wolfe's weightless soprano floating above it all. Though she shares the spotlight gracefully -- Van Leeuwen's guitar work makes each of the album's first three songs a standout, while Turner's growls add an extra doomy authenticity to "Vex" -- as on Abyss, it's clear that Hiss Spun is metal done her way. Wolfe incorporates a relentless electronic pulse into the climate change lament "Offering," and strips things down to little more than piano and her voice on "Welt." Ballou's production leaves space for the full range of her unearthly vocals, allowing her to reach epic highs and lows on songs such as "The Culling" and "Twin Fawn," both of which offer some of the album's most tender moments before unleashing their dark majesty. The span of Hiss Spun's sounds matches the ways Wolfe poetically expresses love, betrayal, strength, and decay in personal and global terms. She depicts a world hell-bent on destroying itself on "Particle Flux" and "Static Hum," surrounding her imagery of war's victims and a planet on fire with suffocating white noise. Though the stories on songs like "Two Spirit" are smaller, the stakes are just as high, and when Wolfe sings "my regret will never consume me" on the apocalyptic finale "Scrape," it can't help but feel like a victory. Both fierce and fragile, Hiss Spun presents an artist in compelling control of the entire scope of her expression. ~ Heather Phares
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Vex

Metal - Released July 26, 2017 | Sargent House