Swans - The Glowing Man (2016, Young God Records)
Another behemoth piece of music from Swans has been released in June this year and I could not pass the fact that despite my pure enjoyment of this release and catching The Glowing Man tour in July, I deliberately procrastinated to write this review for a good six months. Frontman and band leader, Michael Gira is a generous artist that offers another double LP and lots of liner notes to his songs. As he states on his Bandcamp page, Gira will continue to make music under the Swans moniker but with different collaborators and will pull the plug to the incarnation of the band that he restarted in 2009. The conclusion of this chapter of Swans is just a way to continue into a new direction.
The dissonant experimental rock or metal, if you prefer, that the band of Gira does here is one of the best experiences of the latest formation of Swans has ever released. It is a two part album that has its experimental unmusical moments in the first half and then fully embrace its loud Noise in the second half with the complete masterpiece of the title track ‘’The Glowing Man’’. Shifting at over twenty eight minutes, you have the most important song of 2016.
There’s a spirituality in this record that no other Swans album have achieved in those songs made as prayers and the vocals of Gira just as incantations especially with the slow march of ‘’Cloud of Unknowing’’. In their repetitions, those songs become hymns and chants that connects with a coda that Gira made for Swans in his Noise infused records.
Sure the package and the music was not intended for mainstream audiences and the esteem that Swans carries with them might appeal to some hipster music critics but at the same time, it is appealing to the musician that knows his underground and the main influence of artists from Neurosis to Forteresse (members of the band were attending the Québec City show this summer). Nonetheless, it doesn’t occur often that an album has that same impact over and over me at each subsequent listen.