Swans are a band that defies any sort of trend. Michael Gira does what he wants, writes and plays what he wants, and that is definitely something to be respected. A few years into their new lineup, and coming of the success of The Seer, Swans have followed it up with an amazing record (or set, actually), that pushes boundaries all over the place.
The opening riff to 'Screen Shot' sounds like 'Help, I'm a Rock' on steroids, and its highly hypnotic groove pays off big time in this slow burner. Swans know how to build up tension over time, and how to make repetitive song structures build an atmosphere in a way that few can claim to do. I've heard this album may be a little lighter compared to their previous material. Compared to what? Young God? Maybe, but light? Definitely not. Those laughs on 'Just a Little Boy' may be one of the creepiest, most off putting things I've heard in a while. This album definitely paints a less than cheery picture, but the the atmosphere created is astounding.
As with The Seer, this album is a massive, sprawling, monstrosity. Which is great. The length really lets Swans squeeze the tension out of every last song. And, as can be expected with Swans, they produce a record so haunting and ugly, and yet, somehow, beautiful. This is definitely something to listen to, and you will not be the same after experiencing it. This may well be my favorite album of the year thus far. I'm looking forward to more amazing material. It's not often that a band comes back arguably stronger than when they left, but it can definitely be said about Swans.
Out of a total of five stars, I give this:
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