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10/10 Phil Staff review, 16 September 2010
The almighty Swans are back with a new album! Their last studio album was in 1996 and in 1997 they quietly disbanded. Since then it'd all been quiet on the old Swans front. Mr. Gira has been busy with a bunch of solo releases, 5 Angels Of Light albums (which are all astoundingly good) and of course he's been running Young God Records with a reassuring high quality benchmark (I can't think of a duff release on the label). So after an extended hiatus the time felt right to reform and here they are with their new album 'My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky'. It's a beauty as well.
I wasn't sure what to expect. Initially I thought it was going to sound like The Angels Of Light but heavier. I was wrong. The album is most definitely a Swans album. it bears all the hallmarks of Swans. The sheer power and intensity of their music, the hell and damnation lyrics, the powerful vocals, the cyclical rhythms, the bone crushing drums and that ever present disturbed beauty. It's all there and it's there in spades. 'No Words/ No Thoughts' is a statement of intent. The Swans are back! After a few minutes of intense noise, the music builds up into a rhythmical and tuneful beast, and then eventually some ludicrously powerful snare shots come in which sound like the drummer is using every single muscle in his body to hit that drum. It's proper breathtaking stuff.
This is quickly followed by 'Reeling The Liars In' which shows the lighter side of the Swans as it's more acoustic and less sonically powerful. Though the power of the lyrics take over on this one as it's all about driving nails through the hands of liars or cutting their tongues out. It's all very biblical.
Personally, 'Eden Prison' is the highlight of the album for me. It's about the most bruising 6 minutes you'll spend with a piece of music. The sheer intensity is unlike any other band you'll ever hear. I wonder why more bands haven't copied their sound over the years? Anyway you'll be singing "we are free, we are free' after spending your six minutes with it. Not only is it awesome and powerful but it's also a great tune. You rarely hear music that is this pummeling yet tuneful and something that you could potentially sing along to
I'm not gonna do a track by track synopsis as I'm sure if you're reading this you know what to expect. Basically you want to know if it's worth picking up and I can safely say it's an amazing album and one which will be cropping up on end-of-year lists. I know it'll definitely be on mine! If you're a Swans fan you'll love this. An astonishing record brimming with intensity, power and passion and unlike any other you'll hear this year.
Available on CD, LP (w/download) and super limited 2CD version which is only available on tour or the Young Gods website (sold out in a day) but we've managed to snag a few. THESE ARE NOW SOLD OUT... SORRY!) I wouldn't hang around too long if you want one as we don't have many.
10/10 Richard Customer review, 31st May 2012
I agree with everything Phil says about this album, but he misses one crucial point. Eden Prison is indeed a glorious slab of noise and the highlight of the album. The important question is how did Michael Gira come to write a song about a minor visitor attarction in North Yorkshire? Eden Camp is a Prisoner of War Museum near Malton - it used to be a real POW camp during WWII (http://www.edencamp.co.uk/index.html). Did he have a day off from touring and decide to visit Whitby, passing Eden Camp on the way? Who knows?
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