Perhaps a modern day Siren, Chelsea Wolfe lures you in with a voice that is as gentle and beautiful as any ever heard, but just as the folklore is told of sailors crashing on rocky shores, Wolfe once casting her spells crushes listeners under a wave of sadness and heavy guitars leaving you stranded, treading in deep water never intended.
“Don’t you ever cross that bridge in your mind again” Wolfe almost dares you as her voice loops over itself in layers of haunting echoes, and of course you cross. “It’s like a movie screen” she coos, somehow convincing listeners to let go and let the darkness wash over them.
In an old church on an abnormally cold and rainy May day even for Pittsburgh, it left one wondering how much power Ms. Wolfe possibly possessed. The duo of brothers Adam and Sam Sherry known as A Dead Forest Index opened the night up with a haunting and spacial set of down tuned goth folk. A Dead Forest Index set the stage perfectly for the dark enchantment Chelsea Wolfe would deliver from the first note forward.
Wolfe would open the night with a charged version of “Demons” followed by an equally heavy version “Carrion Flowers” and “Dragged Out” bordering on a heaviness only equaled by such doom metal fixtures Sunn (((O))) or the deepest of riffs on Sleep’s “Dopesmoker” album. It’s Wolfe’s voice however that is at the forefront of every song, as soft as a breath but somehow bringing the power of tidal waves word after word. With Chelsea Wolfe you get it all, a shyness on stage that somehow commands your attention and an intent to take you with her down every broken path. While most of the set focused on the heavier and more electronic moments of “Pain Is Beauty” and “Abyss,” proving that Wolfe is amongst one of the heaviest acts going right now, it was the more gentle songs like “Survive” and “Movie Screen” that carried the most weight. Behind a curtain of backlight and a veil of wine colored hair, Wolfe would only sporadically reveal her piercing grey eyes to further spellbind the crowd.
Wolfe plunged head first into an almost two hour set of heart-felt lyrics and pounding guitars and drums, showing very few signs of of the health problems that forced her to cancel a show in Providence a few nights earlier. Wolfe may have nursed hot tea and did intervals of what looked like a throat spray but it did little to hinder the magic in her voice. If any confirmation was needed the encore of “Halfsleeper” was enough to leave the audience haunted for the rest of the night.