Birth of Violence
3.7Overall Score

Remember when we were all blown away by Chelsea Wolfe’s earth-shattering fifth album Hiss Spun? ‘Vex’ and ‘16 Psyche’ are incredibly fascinating as they are so different from classics like ‘Feral Love’ and ‘Flatlands’. The California singer-songwriter turned from sensual and folky to full-blown enraged and liberated. Since then, fans have been dying to hear something new to quench their endless thirst for the queen of darkness.

Interestingly, Chelsea Wolfe’s sixth album Birth of Violence returns with a folk-leaning aesthetic, much like her early recordings. Opening track ‘The Mother Road’ itself is in a constant state of build-up, spotlighting Wolfe’s haunting vocals. In ‘Deranged for Rock & Roll’, Wolfe proclaims her love for music. “It’s in my blood; it’s my one source of true peace. I love its chaos and its rough edges, and I love the way it can bring understanding and comfort,” explained Wolfe. The song briskly brings you to an emotional climax and ends with a powerful catharsis, and it’s definitely the stand-off track of the album.

In ‘Be All Things’, the song was meant to describe a woman in Victorian times who was treated as a maiden, but on the inside she was a warrior. According to Wolfe, the album is about “balancing heavy and light, soft and strong”, subsuming one’s femininity and masculinity.

Towards the end, we get to the more numbing part of the album with tracks like ‘Preface to a Dream Play’ and ‘Highway’. They’re not as thrilling, sure. But Wolfe’s voice manages to put you in a bubble of spiritual tranquility and makes you swoon.

While Hiss Spun successfully captures her frenzied energy – which makes it our favourite Wolfe’s album of all time – Birth of Violence is more stripped-down and beautifully fragile. It’s an intensely personal and ineffably poetic piece of work that translates Wolfe’s growth and awakening as a woman.

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