Saturday, October 24, 2015

Filth - Swans

If I do Halloween Month next year, which I mean it was a lot of fun, I think ill try to the schedule of about one ever other day, (Mon, Wed, Fri, Tues, Thurs, Sat repeat) or something of the type. Anyway this is the debut full length album by Swans, it follows a Self Titled EP released the prior year. This album was recorded in April of 1983 in New York, produced by Michael Gira, and released on Neutral Records. This is also, I think, their only release on that label. One thing I want to say is based off the cover, and title, I imagine the album will contain some form of "chains and whips" or other type of kinks. It's arguably "filth"; the club at the beginning of Irreversible, the activities Frank makes fun of oh so often..... Yes you guessed right. Now I don't like those activities, but this album also gives me the image of the total debauchery of Sister Ray, but more serious. The Heathen activity will commence, and pleasure is the only absolute (insert other art film nonsense). {Note: Anything said that offends is not meant in a serious manner, just in a stereotypical/socially accepted "facts"}. So with all that in mind, why not review it for Halloween?
  1. Stay Here: This is very noisy. Like the best comparison I can think of is Everyone I Went to High School With Is Dead, minus the electronic pop through. There is a marching rhythm to it that makes me also think of Walk, but this is much darker than Pantera. With Pantera I'd think, they are gonna beat me up, with this I think I'd be best to avoid them. It might not be safe to hang out in the part of town they do. Now that that being said, I'd go to that part of town to hear them play, it's just I wouldn't stick around. I do kinda laugh a bit at those growls at the ending. My mom always says, when I listen to any form of screaming "he's constipated" and the way he's doing the vocals at the ending make me think he might be. Not that that's a bad thing..... for the song at least. Also for whatever reason, it makes me think, this whole song and album, Sister Ray
  2. Big Strong Boss: On the tail of my Village People review, I feel like this could be a title of one of their songs. Not really but who knows. This is a very robotic feeling song. The rhythm could easily be done doing with Devo if they were doing, and honestly not a type like real, metalcore/heavy metal type song. Like I imagine a bit of a real machine making this sound, or at least they replicating the sounds and rhythms with their instruments. I also think of the Devo cover of Satisfaction. I also think of the song Critical Acclaim by Avenged Sevenfold. This would be sick if they did they type of guitar thing, like using the same distortion just playing this, that Syn and Zachy did in the beginning of that song following the organ intro, that riff. But that's pretty impressive that I was album to connect so many dots 20 seconds in. I have to give them credit for that. This also have a bit of a punk feeling to it. Like I could see a punk band playing something similar, musically speaking not sound wise. Technically the genre is No Wave though. And this might be the weirdest comparison I've done, it kinda makes me think of "Robot Roll Call". At 3 minutes this does get old kinda quickly, but that's because it's just the one thing and repeats. It's not bad, I just wish it wasn't so long.
  3. Blackout: "I really had a blackout", I can actually sing it to this too (that line). Opening very heavy on drums, this feels like the beginning of an album. Like I feel like this could be titled Blackout if the album was titled that, or this could also just as easily be titled Intro. I mean this is.... I don't feel like this is as together as the last two. Though there wasn't really much, outside of those connections (in my head) going on in the last track. Don't get me wrong, I like minimal stuff, and minimalism...... but I think it is more compelling on To Be Kind. Also I like the evil, deep, Axl Rose esque voice. You know the really low one he does on Use Your Illusion.
  4. Power for Power: For me, personally, the intro would be much better if there was something else going on. Like maybe throw in a solo, or a fill or anything. I mean, there isn't much really to keep your intrest. I mean at least songs or pieces like In C an some others numb your brain from the repetition, this just kinda........... shuts your brain off and you kinda, for me, have to focus. It's not the numbing where you can't focus, it's the you watch the same episode of a TV show for the 5th time in a row, all in the same day, can't focus. I like the powerful percussion towards the middle, but hat's not enough to keep my interest. Like I feel like if I do anything on my guitar, and play it over and over and over and over it'll work of this track. I think that people can do interesting things with songs like that, but it's hard when it's the whole album.
  5. Freak: What kinda one is it? could it be a Porno Freak, or maybe a Super Freak. This starts with a neat "tape rewind" sound. I think it's an interesting departure from what have been mostly a sonically similar album. And Honestly, for that reason it might be may favorite track thus far on the album. It's really noise and a sonic whirlwind. I get the feeling of being inside of a tornado when I listen to this and the guitar only helps that. The sort of fade in and out thing it does. And that stop, pretty awesome. It also goes by pretty quickly.
  6. Right Wrong: This song is kinda clearer. The other tracks prior were a bit more muddy, where this I can make out everything. I might be crazy, or maybe I just got used to the production here. But I think this feels.... fresh (?) and different enough to what I could imagine being a side 2. I don't know the vinyl track listing, but I imagine it like that. I mean this is really cool. I can really get into that track. The drums sound like they want to hurt you, the guitar sounds like it's pissed off and if I had the bass taken out I'm sure I'd kill my ears. The bass here is more muddy, like I can't really pick out what it's doing, but overall it's a bit of a nice change.
  7. Thank You: "for letting me be my self again". This is another track that is noticeably cleaner. I like the double rhythm things. I can't think of the term, but like that drum thing he's doing. Like The Rev did on Almost Easy. Not the double bass, but the kind of timpani thing. The thing they do in the beginning of The Stroke by Billy Squire. I also like the double bass pedal thing on the drums. 
  8. Weakling: I kinda feel like this would be a perfect title to a track for this album. This is pretty decent, I like the whole entire feeling. I could picture this being a stoner/sludge track if the production was a bit different.
  9. Gang: This is a track has a primal feeling to it. Primal is a word I'd use to describe this album too. It's very percussive. There isn't much that happens really. It's cool sounding but I don't jive with the fade out, fade in twice in a single album. Unless it's a different part and not just the same song.
Overall I have to give this album a 5/10. When I look at this cover I feel like it fits the album. Now maybe it's the post-Money Store/NoLoveDeepWeb me but this album just attracts me to its. Kinda of like a horror movie attracts me to it in, though I don't really watch current movies often. That's a whole 'nother story, but regardless. While I don't love this, I definitely think it's worth the listen. It's dark, but the right kind of dark. I find myself liking the blue print and what happens rather then the execution or the over all outcome. I really dig the whole use of noise, but in terms of a whole piece of material I don't think its amazing, or mind blowing. Who knows, this album might change your perception of what is possible, that's the beauty of art. What I might pick up as hints or suggestions to add, someone else might find as the thing to stride for to equal. There are a lot of elements on this thing I like and while I feel like it's not amazing it may grown on me to. One thing I know for sure is, id I heard this in the 83 (or at least prior to the release of Cop) I'd be excited for what's to come. And I plan to review another Swans record, preferably as soon as possible. Also for the record I've heard other albums, and I do like some track by them much more than this album, but you gotta start somewhere.

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