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- The Burning World by SWANS
8/10 Phil Staff review, 25 April 2014
I’ve been dragged out of my review coma to murp on inanely about the reissue of the ‘The Burning World’ by Swans. Why you ask? Indeed.... Back in the early days Swans made a harsh powerful industrial racket which was brutal, punishing and oft upsetting. That changed when the seminal ‘Children of God’ was released as they introduced a gentler folkier element to their death noise and then straight after that ‘The Burning World’ was unleashed.
It was their only album on a major (I think) and it was considered a flop at the time. Certainly by major label standards anyway. It still sounds like Swans; Gira’s voice is a tough one to mask as it drones on like a juggernaut full of misery but it’s broken up by Jarboe’s gentler warblings. Like on the 'Can’t Find My Way Home’ cover by Blind Faith (they should have covered 'Higher Love'!). ‘Mona Lisa, Mother Earth’ is a driving affair with tablas and a tribal shamanic vibe to it. It’s one of my faves on the album.
It was around this time when they covered ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ and ‘Black Eyed Dog’. The latter is definitely worth checking out if you’ve not heard it as it’s one of the better covers out there and Jarboe sounds proper demented like an insane banshee. So in a nutshell this album showcases the gentler folkier gothic side of Swans and is a curious affair (when compared with their entire output) but the songs are strong as Gira can pen a tune so it’s a winner in my book.
6/10 Joel Customer review, 31st July 2014
The Burning World was Swans first attempt at making a major label album and sadly, it kinda sucks. While Michael Gira has basically transcended his feeble human form and become a higher being capable of churning out near perfect/perfect albums on a regular basis, The Burning World stands as a reminder that even a band like Swans can have a misfire. Just go listen to The Seer instead.
7/10 brownowa Customer review, 8th February 2014
I bought this when I was 16. The bloke in Our Price was right impressed. He was in a band and everything. Didn't really know what I was getting. The heady combination of a rave review in melody maker and a reputation lead me to it. Some of it is truly sublime. God dame the sun cured me of Morrissey. Proper dark, not the glib winings of Charles Hawtres's illigitamate son. I saw Gira just before he reformed swans do an acoustic show supporting Boredoms and he played it. The room was silent, incredible. Time has'nt been kind to the production. It sounds in parts, very 80s. But when it's good, it really is superb. I don't play it much now. One time I put it on as a thunder storm was rolling in. I was leaning out of my bedroom window having a fag and just as Gira sang the words 'let it come down', the largest simaltainious thunder / lightning strike went off. It was like God doing a remix. Every time I played it after that I was wairtng for the thunder. I think Michael would approve.
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