Swans - The Seer: A Music Review
BEWARE! THIS ALBUM IS PRETTY MUCH 2 HOURS LONG. IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE ATTENTION SPAN TO LISTEN TO THIS, IT'S PROBABLY NOT FOR YOU.
So if you're still here, this album is The Seer, the latest album from the experimental rock/punk band, Swans. A couple years ago, the band released My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, their first album in more than 10 years. Obviously, that made the album a little shaky, but The Seer shows that they got their stuff down properly. Speaking of getting stuff down properly, let’s begin this review!
So the first song, “Lunacy,” begins with some really heavy, repetitive, instrumentation following up with some really dark, bone-chilling chorus. It presents some strange vocals, some organ, a little bit of guitar, and all sorts of other things that really set the stage of what's coming next in the album. Later in the song, it just becomes a repetitive chant of, "LUNACY! LUNACY! LUNACY! LUNACY!" It's just fantastic and is a really great opener to this album.
You Are Freaking Me Out
The next song, “Mother of the World,” starts with this really sharp, repetitive guitar riff that's kinda weird. It sounds like it's stuttering a bit, but it's really attention-grabbing and makes you want to listen to what's next. You can also hear Michael Gira's vocals as just ... heavy breathing into the microphone. It's REALLY weird. All I'm thinking is, what are you doing? You are freaking me out. Even though the instrumentation is really repetitive, as in REALLY repetitive, as the song goes on, Swans add more and more layers with subtle changes in it. At first I didn't really like it that much because of it being too repetitive, but it's still a great song.
Next up is The Seer, a mind-boggling 32-MINUTE track, one of the longest tracks in the album. It begins with a really noisy drone of ... stuff that eventually dies down into the real meat of the song. It's a really slow- building-up groove that Michael Gira enters in with, "I see it all ... I see it all ... I see it all ... I see it all ...". It's strange, but it's a really drone-like, repetitive, hypnotic chant. It builds up into this really noisy, ear-shattering climax. It just takes pretty much all of the instruments Swans use and blasts constant synced hits over and over again, until it slowly comes to a stop. This may probably be one of the most repetitive parts in the album, for a first-time listener. With the more times I listen to this album, the more I notice very subtle changes in the crashes and the hitting, but it does feel like it drags on for a bit too long.
The Seer Returns features Jarboe, a female vocalist and the founder of Swans, along with Michael Gira. The groove of the song is pretty straight-forward and catchy. Michael gives a pretty strange vocal and narration over the song.
This is just a taste of what Michael Gira and Swans can actually do. The second CD is filled with the same amount of craziness. If you'd made it this long into the album, and you're enjoying it, the last two songs are definitely quite fantastic.
If you want to listen to new stuff and can sit through 2 hours, give this album a listen. If you want something that's just straight up catchy and easy to listen to, as well as short, this probably isn't for you. There's a lot of repetition throughout the album, and that can definitely be a turn off for some people. But if you stick with it, you may find this album to be very good. For me, however, I would give this album a 9/10. You know this is just my opinions right?!
Ryan Dang volunteers for the Sharp Park Library at home.