Chelsea Wolfe - Pain is Beauty
Chelsea Wolfe’s 2011 album Apokalypsis never really gripped me, I could never sink my teeth into it a fully enjoy myself. However, from the beginning of Pain is Beauty my taste buds tingle and I think this is due to this album having more of an electronic feel to it compared to her other work. From the opener “Feral Love” you really get a sense of prevailing darkness that stays, that looms over the rest of the album. It clouds over the instrumentation and makes them thicker and interesting, it makes you stay out of intrigue, even out of horror. I’m really glad that this album can engage me, I feel, is anything, that that is a good sign. Pain is Beauty revolves around this atmospheric gloom and builds itself over the course of the twelve tracks, yet it does feel a little long winded. Once you get the feel for the album, you become accustomed to it and you learn to like it, to love it. Yet it can slightly over stay itself, if only it was concentrated a little rather than running to fifty-five minuets, it may be a little more accessible, but does it really need to be easy to listen to? It’s beauty is wrapped around a cold layer of black silk that you peel back ever so carefully. You let it consume you in tracks like “The Warden” and you ride along for a ’60?s reverb wash on “Destruction Makes the World Burn Brighter”. “Sick” reinforces the albums moodiness through consistency, resting on maybe softcore Witch House. “Ancestors, the Ancients” and “They’ll Clap When Your Gone”, especially the latter, slow the proceedings down, they soften the albums tone in time for “The Waves Have Come”. “The Waves Have Come” is probably the least electronic song on the album, but it is my favourite. The piano and Chelsea’s voice are so beautiful together, it’s dark not because it’s heavy, but because it’s so provokes a sense of awe. It’s long, it’s a journey, it’s grand and it just builds into a melodic epicness. It’s a satisfying and meaty song that really took me aback when I first heard it. But seriously, the track is amazing. “Lone” follows, it’s s gentle come down after “The Waves Have Come” and it does a fine job of closing the album, an epilogue of sorts. Overall, Pain is Beauty really is beautiful, it’s consistent even if a little too long. Chelsea’s vocals are strong throughout and the album all together is a really good set up for something even better in the future. I hope that this album can be built upon, and if built right, then that album will be her defining work.