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Album Reviews, Music

Album Review: Chelsea Wolfe – “Birth of Violence”

By: Jessica Nakamoto –




Whether it be referenced alongside terms such as hostility and harm, or used to address some of the gloomiest moments in human history, the word violence often has a rather unpleasant connotation.

Yet, if one glances just below the dreary dictionary definition, a secondary description can be found. “Strength of emotion” was the phrase picked out by California-based singer-songwriter, Chelsea Wolfe, and it was these words that prompted her to reclaim and rewrite the narrative.

Known for her gothic-rock style and deep haunting melodies, Wolfe is no stranger to finding poetry in darkness. And with her seventh studio album, Birth of Violence, (out September 13 via Sargent House), Wolfe rediscovers the strength of her “emotional feminine” side, and makes it clear that she isn’t afraid to utilize art to speak her mind.

Drawing upon her vast experience as a seasoned performer and touring musician, the miles of constant travel and so-called “white line fever” emerge as the perfect thematic vessel for the songstress as she weaves throughout each track, making stops along the way to visit important public concerns.

And while there was some worry that her acoustic guitar-forward and stripped-down approach to Birth of Violence would be a step back compared to the big bold sounds present in 2017’s Hiss Spun, the folk-centered and paired-back approach instead provides a more intimate feel and enhances Wolfe’s lyrical messages with an eerily impactful quality.

For whether it be delivering a warning of the “waves of devastation” facing the environment at the hands of mankind (Erde), criticizing fighting “guns with guns” in a chilling minor-key lullaby from a child school-shooting victim’s perspective (Little Grave), or describing her own loneliness and struggle with the ups and downs of life on the road (Highway), listeners can’t help but feel goosebumps rising on their skin as they hear the feeling in Wolfe’s voice while she traverses between the major qualms at both the micro and macro level of human existence.

However, despite these roadblocks and the darkness we may see in the world today, “women know what it is to endure”, Wolfe coos as she floats through lead single, “The Mother Road”. Because whether it be strength of one woman’s emotion to ignite change or the conscious decision by all to take care of not only each other, but our ultimate provider, Mother Earth, Wolf believes it’s never too late to rewrite the story. All it takes is the willingness to recognize the path we’re on and embark on a positive journey of our own making.

Recommended Tracks: “The Mother Road”, “Deranged for Rock & Roll”, and “Little Grave”


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