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The Seer
 
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The Seer

27 Jan. 2014 | Format: MP3

12.39 (VAT included if applicable)
Buy the CD album for 14.65 and get the MP3 version for FREE. Does not apply to gift orders.
Provided by Amazon EU Srl. See Terms and Conditions for important information about costs that may apply for the MP3 version in case of returns and cancellations. Complete your purchase of the CD album to save the MP3 version to your Amazon music library.
Song Title
Time
Popularity  
30
1
6:09
30
2
9:57
30
3
1:35
30
4
32:14
30
5
6:17
30
6
5:21
30
7
2:40
Disc 2
30
1
3:58
30
2
8:51
30
3
19:10
30
4
23:01
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Format: Audio CD
The latest Swans LP is an absolute monster entirely befitting of their and, in particular, Michael Gira's fearsome reputation. Two hours in length, it's an uncompromising, fiercely intense statement and exactly the sort of forward-thinking missive demanded by the band's reforming two years ago. Simply put, The Seer outstrips 2010's nevertheless impressive My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky in a single bound, reducing it in retrospect to but a necessary stepping stone on the road to an album that has reputedly been 30 years in the making.

Certainly Gira hasn't pushed himself, his band or his listeners this hard for a couple of decades. Take the almost intolerable screech-drone that opens for the foreboding gallop of the ever-intensifying 30+ minute title track. Gira's manic chants and doom-laden screams then swirl amidst bludgeoning repeats, technical drum skitters courtesy of Thor Harris and exploding time signatures all recorded at suffocating volume. The track latterly decays at a punishingly slow pace, becoming in fairness a bit of an endurance test. Indeed with a touch of judicious editing here and there, a compressed edit of The Seer may well have been looking at close to a perfect ten.

Yet The Seer is not some extremophile's paradise, rather a record of extremes that reels from rousing battle sequences to pretty patterning and then on to crushing noise. It's thus far from beyond those that dwell with any frequency as such experimental depths, but periods of extended antisocial drone and, for example, the blunt fists of "Mother Of The World" are liable to send certain curious indie types scuttling for their mothers.
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Format: Audio CD
Much has been made of Michael Gira's observation prior to this release, that this is the sum-total of 30 years of SWANS development. More interesting is that he then says its impossible to record a definitive 'version' of his vision because it develops each & every time its played/performed. Take, for example the We Rose From Your Bed ... version of old classic I Crawled - its come a long way from the aggressive beast it once was but the kernel of the original is there. I was almost frightened to play The Seer for the first time, so much the anticipation . Its almost overwhelming at first, but don't let the two-hour time-frame put you off. This record is beautifully paced & while there is copious amounts of cacophony, dissonance & repetition, there is also respite, space and beauty. In spades. Its one of those records that will be something different to each & every person that takes the journey through it. In 'The Seer', the tremendous 30-minute centre=piece of the first disc is some of the most remarkable & challenging music Gira has ever written & its awesome in the very essence of the word. Intense but not overwhelming, it takes you in a psychedelic fugue up & up & ... well you have to be there.
In 'Song For A Warrior' you find perhaps the most beautiful SONG that Michael Gira has ever written. And in the album's titanic two closers, is that quintessence of SWANS that maybe, he's been talking about.
The Seer is certainly not for the faint-hearted. But in Gira's words "the goal is joy" , & The Seer is certainly a joy to behold.
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I'm not going to lie, listening to this two hour album, start to finish is going to be hard, particularly if you are not used to experimental music and more specifically drone. Much of this album in purely instrumental, with the instruments constantly grooving through a single pounding riff over and over, and on first listen it can seem very over the top and pointless. However, numerous listens are rewarding, as you will notice the subtitles of even the hardest pounding riffs, particularly the tumultuous pounding that kicks in halfway through the half an hour long title track, which is fearfully torturous on first listen.

The vocals on here are pretty sparse but very rewarding. The opening track contains some ritualistic vocals, creating a lot of atmosphere and power right from the off, but when Mother of The World kicks in, it's on a fierce onslaught and the band really kicks into a single droning groove for nearly half the song, with only subtle changes and dark vocal flourishes. This eventually winds down into the albums shortest track, The Wolf, in which Michael Gira delivers a vocal that lives up to the name of the song. It is a wonderful introduction into the title track, which is by far the most challenging, with it's opening of bagpipes, bell chiming and hammered dulcimers basking in chaos until the band start jamming on ever more brutal and droning riffs and grooves.

The Seer is followed by The Seer Returns, another vocal heavy track and certainly one of the albums more accessible songs, at least musically, as the vocals are as usual, dark and sinister.
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