Boomkat Product Review:
Swans decant their classic live testament on its first vinyl reissue since 1986 >> RIYL Earth, Moin, Mars, Gnod, Godflesh, Nirvana.
After an incendiary, gutturally punishing run of albums starting with ‘Filth’ (1983) and thru 1986’s unholy triad of sides, Swans documented the slow, crushing might of their early style in these live recordings made at I.C.A. and U.L.U., London, and The Garage in Nottingham. Since mounted in rock’s annals as one of the strongest live albums of the era, the set hinges around glacially pummelling percussion, monolithic riffs and harrowed vocals, holding up Micheal Gira, Jarboe, Norm Westberg, Ronaldo Gonzalez and Ted Parsons at their fearsomely poised and possessed best at an early crest of their powers. Whilst they have since swarmed into multiple directions, there’s frankly fuck all quite like the formative power of early Swans to ignite the senses and bring out the absolute grouch in ya, so consider thee warned if this is a first encounter.
For the 74 minutes of ‘Public Castration Is a Good Idea’ Swans bark and beat with an atavistic alacrity, channelling stone age no wave rock and imperious vox inspired by Jean genet and Marquis de Sade with an alarming, unrelenting conviction that has inspired so many bands in their wake. They would effectively change course over proceeding albums with the introduction of Jarboe to their fold, but these lie recordings are a totem to their early foment, running down ruinously heavy renditions of ‘Money Is Flesh’, the bleakness of ‘Fool’, the heaving mass of ‘A Screw’, and a spirit-breaking 12 minutes of ‘A Hanging’ or torpid depths of ‘Another You’ as an ideal soundtrack to getting slanted and destructive.