Picture being in a murky dungeon surrounded by the sounds of satanic chanting, hoarse bird-like screams and maddening white noise. Picture yourself slowly going insane with the reverberation of a female’s voice inside your head, over and over again. The line between madness and music is emaciated on this album, with the psychedelic ambiance flowing thoroughly throughout. This is the contextual feeling for the album “Ἀποκάλυψις” otherwise known as “Apokalypsis” by gothic rocker Chelsea Wolfe.
This music from the young Californian is somewhat captivating, yet narcotic. It brings you into the whole feel of the album, smothering you with varied emotions, thoughts, and yet you experience a completely new feeling that your ears have been toned, they can hear the difference between one instrument and another, the glossy effect on the lyrics, and subtleties that one wouldn’t find in any common album.
‘Normal’ seems to be a word to focus on in this piece of work. Nothing seems to be expected. There is a use of sounds that wouldn’t be heard in other music. This brand of doom-folk, goth-rock or whatever genre you give it, is something revolutionary – something experimental that in the end sounds superior to other underground tracks around.
Animated and haunting, the first track on the album “MER,” actually shows enthusiasm and backs away from the white noise and screams, and any vocals on the song sound frenzied and nervous, but also valiant. The vocals sound like the kind of voice you would hear while intoxicated with drugs, or psychopathic with voices inside of your head, or even from paranormal voices. The track starts with harshly pulled strings of an acoustic guitar, with some sort of resonance on the instrument, giving the gloomy effect. A simple drum beat kicks in, and then Wolfe’s vocals embrace the rest of the sound and sounds as if she is in a different room to the other instruments. During her vocals, the odd moan accompanies, and the effect on the strings gives an eerie tone to the song.
Many of the tracks on “Apokalypsis” give you a relaxed and drowsy attitude, even though the sounds resemble nothing relaxing, more daunting and intimidating. Subsequently the drowsy feeling implants you deeper into your subconscious and everything about the album begins to have logic poured into it
“TO THE FOREST, TOWARDS THE SEA” is possibly the greatest song on the album. It’s introduction mimics that of an opening in a forest, then continues on to what sounds like whale song, which is our sea. The repeating of this becomes a bit monotonous, and just as you feel like skipping songs, you become intrigued behind the reasoning. The whole album does this in a way though, scheming against your preconceived ideas and pushing you more and more to like it.
“DEMONS” is a track beginning with nothing but a drum beat for twelve seconds, until a guitar closely follows. The song slightly becomes faster, and then Chelsea kicks in with the same unusual vocals for a brief piece of her Gregorian poetry, which is repeated after a brief, thriving instrumental, and the repeated vocals are followed by the recurring moan of “Demons”. If you are still not convinced after those tracks, listen to “MOSES,” it is a sure favourite.
Apokalypsis is a genuine piece of art, but only perceived as by those who genuinely listen profoundly to the album. Wolfe’s work has opened up further pathways into her genre for other artists, being the inspirational work that it is.
Written by Regan Foy