"IT seems like the world has been in tears for months,” says Chelsea Wolfe in the press notes for the Californian’s sixth album, “and then you remember it’s been f***** for a long time.” It would be misguided, then, to expect Hiss Spun to pulse with joy or whimsy.

Sonically this means Hiss Spun picks up where Wolfe’s 2015 album Abyss left off, hybridising metal, electronic, industrial and gothic influences. While appropriately gargantuan, the textural layering can leave your ears exhausted, but where it succeeds – as on the electro throb of Vex and the closing Scrape, which rages with all the tribal abandon of early Killing Joke – producer Kurt Ballou makes a virtue of airlessness.

Arguably the Achilles heel of Hiss Spun is the inconsistency of its ability to land blows to the gut. While it would be folly to cast doubt on Wolfe’s emotional candour, it is frequently drowned out by the pursuit of ever-bigger sonic highs. Where the swell subsides, as on Two Spirit, with Wolfe’s voice accompanied by little more than acoustic guitar, the calm is ablutionary.

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