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9/10 Phil Staff review, 16 May 2012
I was fortunate enough to see Swans live twice on their last tour and they totally blew me away. I don't think I've seen such an intense, powerful, absorbing band in my life. In short they had you by the balls until the end of show (then you had to waddle home all mind blown). Truly amazing stuff.
Now you can enjoy some of the experience in your own home with this live double album recorded from varying shows from their expansive last your. This was originally a mail order 2CD set which was to fund the new album and all 1000 sold in 12 hours. So here's a limited repress (only 300 for the UK) in new artwork by Heidi Yardley.
The album opens with that insanely slow-building chimey engaging intro they started all the shows with (it goes on for a long long time) and to me it's a statement of intent and a true testament to the power of Swans as the tune builds and builds for 10 or 11 minutes before those slow cyclical tribal drums come in and thrust you back into familiar Swans territory. There are occasional moments of pop (said in the loosest of terms) with songs like 'Jim' and 'Eden Prison' so it's not all doom and gloom. They're sandwiched in between powerful repetitive sonic mantras which are both beautiful and brutal. The music both punishes and rewards equally and let's not forget about Michael Gira caterwauling those hell and damnation lyics.
They're a band you either love or hate but if you get them and you get into the zone with them they'll take you to places no other band on the planet will. If you ever get the chance to go and see 'em live the you really should. Breathtaking stuff.
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