Abyss is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter and her eponymous band Chelsea Wolfe. The album was released on August 7, 2015 through Sargent House and was produced by John Congleton. It also features guest contributions from Mike Sullivan of Russian Circles and Dan Phillips from True Widow.
The album received positive reviews from music critics and peaked at No. 130 on the Billboard 200, becoming Wolfe's first album to enter the chart.
Abyss was initially announced through Chelsea Wolfe's website on January 8, 2015 with the news that it would be released via Sargent House. This was followed up by a more detailed announcement on April 22, 2015 with news of the album's collaborators - Ben Chisholm, Dylan Fujioka, Ezra Buchla, special guests Mike Sullivan (Russian Circles), Dan Phillips (True Widow) and the annoucement of John Congleton as the album's producer. A trailer was also released to accompany the album's announcement.
Upon its release Abyss generally received positive reviews from contemporary music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 79, based on 24 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".
In the review for AllMusic, Heather Phares delared that "On Abyss, Chelsea Wolfe brings the heaviness in her music to the fore in a way that's more natural, and more compelling, than merely "going metal." Given the darkness and drama present even on her unplugged album Unknown Rooms—as well as tours and collaborations with artists such as Russian Circles—it was inevitable that she'd embrace her metal leanings more fully, but Abyss exceeds expectations." Nina Corocran gave the album a B+ in the review for Consequence of Sound, claiming that "There’s a vast landscape in Abyss, but most times it’s too dark to be certain of what you see. That wavering imagery, an intentional creative choice, gives the album room to swell with personalized monsters." Drowned in Sound critic Giuseppe Zevolli wrote: "Abyss proves that there's still much work to do in the dark side of alt rock. Chelsea Wolfe is surely ahead of the curve."
Reviewing the album for Pitchfork, contributor Brandon Stosuy declared "Wolfe has incorporated metallic elements into her music since the beginning—especially on 2013's Pain Is Beauty—but she's never really gone full-on metal. And, honestly, she still hasn't, but on Abyss she comes closer than ever, externalizing those tendencies. She's thrown in moments of distortion, animal-like growling, or hiss on her other records, but it could come off like an affectation or add-on; here, it's built into, and integral to, the music, which frequently booms with distorted doom-metal guitar."
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