By Amy Szmik, Contributor
[Sargent House; 2019]
Key tracks: “Deranged for Rock & Roll”, “The Mother Road”, “Dirt Universe”
Isolating herself, singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe settled in Northern California to focus on her new album after an extensive touring regime. During the time she spent locked away, she created her 6th LP, Birth of Violence. It’s a step away from 2017 her album Hiss Spun, as Wolfe departs from the heavy rock/metal sound and trades it for a more indie and folk-inspired sound. Dark synths and softly strumming guitars accompanied by Wolfe’s airy vocals make Birth of Violence a turning point in her musical talent, proving she can cover any sound.
Read more: Album Review: Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun
Originally released as a single, “The Mother Road” is the opening track on Birth of Violence. A stand-out on its own, the song immediately draws the listener in as Wolfe builds her world up. Her themes of lost love are covered clearly in this track as she sings “Guess I needed someone to break me, guess I needed someone to shake me out / It was you.” Faint guitar picks are assisted by the slight banging of drums, and sharp synths that fade in and out create a landscape all on their own. Wolfe’s voice completes it, fleshing out the gothic universe she croons about. A triumphant orchestra and pounding drums rise as Wolfe chants “Bloom and eclipse them / wake up and transform.” “The Mother Road” is her redemption and one of her finest songs.
Dreamy yet haunting, Wolfe embodies a twisted rock star on “Deranged for Rock & Roll”. Chelsea’s lyrics are full of admittance and detail her obsession and passion for music. Wolfe proves herself a versatile artist on the track, delivering some of her strongest vocals on the album. Perfectly chaotic instrumentals surround her, making this one of the heaviest songs on Birth of Violence.
Drenched in eeriness, “Dirt Universe” evokes the ethereal sound that Wolfe knows too well. Keeping the instrumentals to a minimum, she lets her voice carry the song, and it pays off. Her voice is warped as if she is singing a lullaby in the darkness of the forest. The brushing of dancy drums leaves the listener uneasy, and her quietness packs the biggest punch on this track. Wolfe does what she does best on this track and uses her extraordinary knack for songwriting to cultivate her signature sound.
Chelsea Wolfe goes back to her roots on Birth of Violence. Wolfe’s ability to fill each track with poetic lyrics makes every song feel honest and open to interpretation. Birth of Violence is beautifully produced, as Wolfe takes full advantage of synthesizers and uses them when they are most impactful. Chelsea Wolfe takes a chance on Birth of Violence, and it pays off, as her quietest moments are the loudest ones.