Review Summary: The Wolfe is loose.
Prior to her crowning as Queen of Darkness and long before her ascension to gothic deity status, Chelsea Wolfe was an insecure, fragile teen struggling to front a band with longtime friend Jess Gowrie. The band was called Red Host.
In a recent interview with Revolver Magazine, Wolfe recalls her humble beginnings and how Red Host ended abruptly after a fallout, with Wolfe and Gowrie putting some distance in between them. Years after, the two were reunited during a New Year's Eve party. It was the period when Wolfe was writing new, heavier material, so she thought a drumming powerhouse like Gowrie would give her new album the punch it needed. The result was 2017's Hiss Spun
A collaboration between the two artists was a matter of time, either as a frankestained
version of unfinished Red Host material or as an entire new entity, but it was bound to happen. Mrs. Piss is Wolfe and Gowrie's inner wild child on the loose. The aim was to create a record where no rules or set artistic direction were allowed. It had to be primal, unhinged, and raw.
Well, let's just say they wrapped it up in 18 minutes.
is the first statement of the project. And I say "project" because, according to Wolfe, the scope won't be limited to Wolfe and Gowrie in future outputs, but to a whole network of women artists known as the M.B.O.T.W.O. (Mega Babies Of The World Order). But the first and obvious question that anyone staring at the provocative cover art would have worming down the skull is how much does this sound like Chelsea Wolfe. If you consider this is half of the Hiss Spun
line-up, it's fair to say that there is a lot of Wolfe's sound in the music of Mrs. Piss. On the other hand, the duo channels the 90s grunge punk of bands L7 with the doom and gloom of Chelsea Wolfe to create something that you could surely say it’s slightly different.
Songs in Self Surgery
are short bursts of noise punk and sludge opposed to the longer, more thoughtful compositions found in Wolfe’s solo works. As the two singles, "Downer Surrounded by Uppers" and "Knelt" showed some weeks ago, the band alternates between the fierce drumming of Gowrie at full speed accompanying the lashing riffage commanded by Wolfe with sludgier, filthier cuts where the Sacramento horror queen’s voice becomes the ineluctable focus. "Nobody Wants to Party With Us" reveals a sad touring truth, fired up by an ominous synth and Wolfe's ghostly tones before Gowrie joins pummeling her kit like there's no tomorrow. "M.B.O.T.W.O." is a one minute, hips shivering tune dominated by distorted bass lines while "You Took Everything" and "Self Surgery" wouldn't feel out of place in a Chelsea Wolfe record.
Closing with the band's caustic hymn "Mrs Piss", Self Surgery
is a must-listen for long time fans of Wolfe, but also a fresh, wilder take on her music, thanks to Jess Gowrie's contribution to the album, not only on the kit, but also on bass and programming. Self Surgery
is available through Sargent House in different formats as well as in Bandcamp, which hints to some of the potential names that could be associated with the band in the future. Am I talking about a Chelsea Wolfe, Emma Ruth Rundle, Lingua Ignota collaboration?
I sure as hell hope so.