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Every Chelsea Wolfe Album Ranked Worst to Best

Chelsea Wolfe is every Metalhead’s favorite metal-adjacent singer-songwriter. After a false start in the 2000s, Chelsea Wolfe hit the scene in 2010 with “The Grime and the Glow”, and over the course of the decade, fused dark folk with every genre imaginable, from dark metal, dark electronic, dark noise and the sound of darkness within every human soul, with assists from longtime collaborators Ben Chisholm on bass/electronics, Jess Gowrie on drums and Bryan Tulao on guitar. Chelsea Wolfe has become so beloved that she even scored a film (“X” for those of you interested), demonstrating her undeniable talent and versatility, which leads us to rank all of her official releases from worst to best.

7. Birth of Violence (2019)

The title of this album is deeply misleading as there is no birth and very little violence to be found on this record, especially considering this was a return to Chelsea’s softer, singer songwriter roots. After the explosive “Hiss Spun” this album just feels like a step back from the celestial void, and the songwriting is most certainly more down to earth here then on previous albums, with the arrangements being much sparser. While this makes for a good artistic choice, this album still fails to deliver on its title, so it ranks at the bottom.

Play It Again: “American Darkness”
Skip It: “Deranged for Rock’n’Roll”

6. The Grime and the Glow (2010)

After writing an allegedly terrible album in the 2000s, Chelsea Wolfe re-entered the music scene with 2010s “The Grime and the Glow,” with stripped-back, folksy songs that have a strong, almost eye-poppingly apparent sense of melancholy. All of the ingredients to a kickass Chelsea offering are here, but without the heat and bite that gives her that “Wolfe” edge on later releases, but it’s a great relaunch of a music career, and a reminder that whatever stage of life you are in, that you too can start writing awesome music, maybe even tour behind it.

Play It Again: “Cousins of the Antichrist”
Skip It: “Moses”

5. Apokalypsis (2011)

While it may sound like some dystopian plastic surgery procedure, “Apokalypsis” is actually the first Chelsea Wolfe album to embrace a full band sound. It’s great, sprawling and a work of art on its own, while lacking the atmospheric crush of later releases, it definitely tickles that folky Black Sabbath itch that roped in metalheads and heavy music fans everywhere with its uniquely feminine take on the celestial, often in contrast to the “Beer drinking and hell raising” audience outsiders typically associate with metal. Otherworldly, bold and daring, this album may have done more to get headbangers in touch with their feelings than hours and hours of therapy ever could.

Play It Again: “Pale on Pale”
Skip It: “Moses” (why was this track re-recorded, it was already on our skip once)

4. Abyss (2015)

Prior experimentation with industrial/electronic sounds on “Pain is Beauty” prompted Chelsea Wolfe to pursue this sound to its fullest, embracing the darkness not just within her soul, but within machines as well. Kicking things off with the intoxicating, domineering synths of “Carrion Flowers,” the rest of this album comes across just as menacingly, opening your eyes and soul and forcing the abyss to look into you, and it transports the listener on a celestial journey. This record bridged the gap towards the heavier direction Chelsea Wolf would tread down.

Play It Again: “Carrion Flowers”
Skip It: “Crazy Love”

3. Pain is Beauty (2013)

Is this the album where Chelsea Wolfe came into her own as a singer and songwriter? The technically correct answer is, yes, since this is the album where the experimentation with more nuanced and varied songwriting began. While previous releases relied more on folksy songwriting, rooted in this world, “Pain is Beauty” sought to expand outwards to the spiritual world, and thanks to co-conspirator Ben Chisolm, this album sounded more celestial than prior releases. Centering around the theme of idealistic love, with a good dose of “feral” energy, this was an album every 2010s Hipster/Goth would come to love in their own way.

Play It Again: “House of Metal”
Skip It: “Sick”

2. Hiss Spun (2017)

After contacting some demons from the netherworld and transforming into a furry, menacing, but still distinctly human creature seen on the album cover, Chelsea Wolfe would then proceed to fully embrace the demonic on this album, strongly inspired by episodes of sleep paralysis she had experienced. This album was unprecedentedly bold, with guest appearances from both Troy Van Leeuen from Queens of the Stone age and living legend Aaron Turner, and the addition of former collaborator Jess Gowrie on drums (check out Ms. Piss for some filthy, noisy sounds from her and Chelsea), this album was a defining record of everything and everything heavy in the 2010s, and it’s just as timeless today if you want to get spun right round right round when you go round.

Play It Again: All of It
Skip It: None

1. She Reaches Out To She Reaches out To She (2024)

Whoever she keeps reaching out to, we want a direct line to them, because she definitely inspired one of the best Records of Chelsea’s illustrious career, just released this year is a textbook definition of artistic revitalization. Instantly addictive on first listen, this album gives the feeling that your high school D.A.R.E. counselor wishes was achievable with narcotics, but this album is just that good. Aided by all the usual players, and with the wisdom and experience of a pro, we just might be living in the golden age of Chelsea Wolfe, or we would be if time wasn’t an irrelevant construct.

Play It Again: If you want to reach out, of course (Yes)
Skip It: No sir