Chelsea Wolfe has always been a conduit for a powerful energy, and while she has demonstrated a capacity to channel that somber beauty into a variety of forms, her gift as a songwriter is never more apparent than when she strips her songs down to a few key elements. As a result, her solemn majesty and ominous elegance are more potent than ever on her forthcoming album, Birth of Violence.
The album touches upon tradition, but it also exists in the present, addressing modern tragedies such as school shootings and the poisoning of the planet. But Birth of Violence is at its most poignant when Wolfe withdraws into her own world of enigmatic and elusive autobiography. The songs describe an internal awakening of feminine energy, a connection to the maternal spirit of the Earth, and a defiant stance against the destructive and controlling forces of a greedy and hostile patriarchy. Though the lyrical minutiae remain secret, the overall power of the language and delivery is bound to haunt the listener with both its grace and tension. In keeping with the general approach of the album, it thrives by culling from the familiar language of American country and folk music while setting it within longtime musical collaborator Ben Chisholm's scenic soundscapes.
The songs stem from humble beginnings – little more than Wolfe's voice and her Taylor acoustic guitar. Chisholm recorded the songs in their own studio and helped fill them out with his modern production treatments and auxiliary flourishes from ongoing contributors Jess Gowrie (drums) and Ezra Buchla (viola). Every Chelsea Wolfe album introduces new unorthodox textures and approaches, and the trajectory of her creative arc has generally aimed for larger and more imposing sounds, but Birth of Violence deliberately alters that course in favor of a more intimate atmosphere. The result yields Wolfe's most devastating work to date.
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