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swans - The Seer (Regular 2CD Edition)
Swans may have only reformed in 2009, but according to Michael Gira 'The Seer' is the album that has truly been thirty tortured years in the making. Its predecessor 'My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky' (excluding the limited live album 'We Rose From Your Bed With The Sun In Our Head') was a measured, low-key affair, more of a reminder of how the band had changed in the lost years between their death and rebirth than knocking their prior recordings out of the water entirely. 'The Seer' however is another beast altogether, simultaneously managing to cram in the measured melancholy of Gira's Angels of Light project and the gruesome cacophony of Swans' industrial classics 'Filth' and 'Greed'. Cracking Americana tinged soundscapes make up the backdrop of the record, but find themselves pushed aside to make way for steamrolling percussion, sneering vocals and crushing waves of the kind of distorted guitars that had Swans on a ban list for suburban mothers in the 80s and 90s. It's almost a cliché to drop Swans as a band that you 'need to see live', and despite having a catalogue of live recordings committed to wax, very little they've managed to release has come close to replicating the belittling experience of seeing something as soul-destroyingly dynamic and engrossing. 'The Seer' is certainly the album to change that, and both in its narrative (the phenomenal shift from the ugly, angry '93 Ave. B Blues' to the near acoustic 'The Daughter Brings the Water' to the Karen O fronted 'Song for a Warrior' needs to be heard to be believed) and its sound should have fans weak at the knees as well as drag a whole new crowd of supporters into the fray. It comes to a close on maybe the finest moment; a twenty-three minute explosion of noise, drums, electronics, vocal snippets and screams and it's at this point that you know for sure that you're listening to something totally and utterly defining (and possibly deafening, too). Essential purchase.