Chelsea Wolfe - "Hypnos" (Singles Going Steady)

This is the gorgeous sound of isolation, like being left alone in the woods at night with a tape recorder and a guitar.

Chris Ingalls: A beautiful nightmare. Chelsea Wolfe revels in minor keys and stark acoustic guitars with this leftover from last year's Abyss album. Like a lot of the best dark stuff, there's a glimmer of hope creeping through, and Wolfe gives us enough of a peak to let us know that it can't be all bad. But maybe it is? This is the gorgeous sound of isolation, like being left alone in the woods at night with a tape recorder and a guitar. [8/10]

Jordan Blum: It's very cryptic and ominous visually, like a mixture of David Lynch and Nine Inch Nails. Wolfe's voice is just as haunting as the delicate arrangement, too, and I like how it incorporates even more chilling atmosphere as it goes. That said, I think there could be more to it. It doesn't really evolve much, so it's kind of tedious even though it's also enveloping in its cascade of hopelessness. [7/10]

Chad Miller: The melody and Wolfe's vocals are hauntingly beautiful as per usual. Sometimes the song reaches a point where the melody seems suffocatingly dark, but Wolfe smartly inserts accompanying instruments in to release some of that tension, making for many wonderful moments in the song. [8/10]

Emmanuel Elone: Like a lot of Chelsea Wolfe songs, "Hypnos" is hauntingly gorgeous, with soft, dark guitar arpeggios punctuating Wolfe's vocals. Vocally, Chelsea is on top of her game as she croons in her upper register. The lyrics are decent, though they sometimes feel a bit overblown or dramatic. "Hypnos", though, is a track that's meant to be felt rather than analyzed, and Chelsea continues to demonstrate her ability to convey emotions through simple gothic folk melodies and chilling vocals. The fact that this was just a b-side to her last album Abyss instead of making onto the track list is yet another reminder to us all that Wolfe's songwriting has never been stronger, and that we can expect many more great songs from her in the near future hopefully. [7/10]

Morgan Y. Evans: As eerie an intoxicating dirge this side of Alice in Chain's acoustic version of "Angry Chair" you're likely to ever hear, patience and impatience wed to the serpentine existential static of the video and a vocal heart-rending enough to collapse buildings. Simultaneously addictively comforting and painful beyond words. You could imagine this song running through Lot's head as he realized his wife was now a pillar of salt. [9/10]

Pryor Stroud: With "Hypnos", Chelsea Wolfe has created another goth-folk requiem that wields a simple guitar-voice dialectic to examine melancholy, not as some indivisible affective state, but as a complex of various symptoms and layers. Lyrically, it tells the story of a deathbed conversation: Wolfe has crawled under the sheets with her terminally-ill lover and, exhausted from the emotional vicissitudes of her situation, has started to slip erratically in and out of sleep, thereby losing her grip on the distinction between wakefulness and its opposite. The trudging, stop-start acoustic guitar line could be heard as the struggle of her eyelids to stay open -- or, it could be argued, to stay closed. "Oh honey, I'll put up a fight with Death / He's never coming near my love again," Wolfe sings, and, with these lines, her real struggle becomes clear. She's a lover fending off two pagan deities -- Hypnos, pulling her to sleep, and Death, pulling her lover away -- and, sadly, she seems to be losing the fight. [7/10]

SCORE: 7.66

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