Pain Is Beauty

Pain Is Beauty

Despite the high school art-class album title, Chelsea Wolfe’s fourth album is a sophisticated song cycle that stretches her music into orchestral zones where the grandeur isn’t just necessary for her to get her point across. It's what makes the album such unlikely fun—especially coming from an artist who’s spent much time exploring things acoustically. Electronics become her. Not since the days of Nico or Nina Hagen have songs such as “Feral Love” sounded so naturally fluid. “Kings” takes this gothic warrior into rhythms that trip upon themselves and chord shifts that hit on a guttural level. Harmonies throughout are constructed for maximum minor-key reflection, and if one submits to Wolfe’s imagination, a peculiar sense takes hold. A giddier moment such as “The Warden” is disco-lite by comparison—but even someone composing within the dark arts needs to let off steam. “Destruction Makes the World Burn Brighter” imagines what a world where bands such as Swans would be as popular as The Beatles. 

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