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SuperVeji4
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Sep 17, 2006 10:33 pm
Posts: 590
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:47 pm 
 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seer_%28Swans_album%29

A new album called “The Seer” from Swans, second one since their reformation, is scheduled for a release on August 28, and the most exciting news of all is the fact that it’s a double album. The album has leaked, and I gotta say that I love it. To me, it’s essentially an expansion and elaboration of the style and sound of the previous album, “My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky,” which ultimately felt like the Angels of Light album “We Are Him” except louder and more grand, with more instruments. This album is even more grand, more elaborate, and much more interesting. The song "The Seer" should be checked out all on it's own for it represents all that is great in this album. However, it unfortunately also reflects the few elements I didn't enjoy about the album.

Perhaps the most interesting element of this new album is the fact that it actually has sections that sound reminiscent to the old Swans; very heavy, loud, bass driven drum beats to the point that it becomes nothing but a jumble of noise. In all honesty I found these sections to be nothing but a nuisance for I am not a fan of old Swans (Good thing there’s computer programs like Audacity that give me the ability to delete these sections), but it’s still interesting none the less to see Michael Gira re-exploring these familiar territories after so many years. Still however, it is these sections that I find most damning about the album. It breaks flow, it interrupts the music, and sometimes there tracks that have way too much time spent on just noise, with only a few minutes given to the actual "song" itself (Song in this sense meaning a section that has lyrics, melody, and direction).

I was excited by the news that Jarboe is featured on this album, but unfortunately she only does very subtle back-up vocals on only two tracks. There’s a song here called “Song for a Warrior” that features Karen-O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on lead vocals, and frankly I would’ve preferred Jarboe to have performed lead vocals on the song.

One thing that I feel must be mentioned is the album cover. I find it to be very subtle yet striking, a simple cover art that hints at madness and terror. To me it perfectly fits with the music of Swans, music that, no matter how beautiful, loud, or melodic, had always the hint of madness and violence.

To be perfectly honest, I am relieved to see that Swans is going in this direction, instead of elaborating and continuing in the direction of the "Soundtrack for the Blind," which I absolutely despise.

So, has anyone else heard this album?

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Violent_Possessor
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:53 pm
Posts: 238
Location: New York
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:59 am 
 

SuperVeji4 wrote:
In all honesty I found these sections to be nothing but a nuisance for I am not a fan of old Swans (Good thing there’s computer programs like Audacity that give me the ability to delete these sections),


Delete the most awesome part of Swans?!? ARE YOU INSANE! Well I'm glad he does that because I LOOOOOOVE old swans. So harsh and unapologetic. Almost makes you hate life. I cannot wait for this album. The last album was very good and I will actually buy this when it comes out.
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megalowho
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:33 am
Posts: 479
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:26 am 
 

Three weeks! Awesome, man. Thanks for the update.

I'm not going to listen to it until I get a physical copy, although I guess I got something of a preview on their most recent live album.

I saw them live last year in Lexington. It was at least as brutal as any metal show I've seen - and half the guys are going on, what, 60?!

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MazeofTorment
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:06 pm
Posts: 2039
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:28 pm 
 

megalowho wrote:
Three weeks! Awesome, man. Thanks for the update.

I'm not going to listen to it until I get a physical copy, although I guess I got something of a preview on their most recent live album.

I saw them live last year in Lexington. It was at least as brutal as any metal show I've seen - and half the guys are going on, what, 60?!

Really now? I live in Lexington and was also at that show. It was, indeed, a brutal, mind numbing experience to say the least.

Anyway, listened to this last night and thought it was breath taking. Something about it felt very cathartic, confessional, and raw, capturing the essence and passion of their entire career, but with more measure, more control over the process. Much like Gira describes in a recent statement about the album, it feels like an overview of their career, encapsulating something from each stage of their evolution with yet more of the experimentation we come to expect from a new Swans album. More listens will be needed but my first impression is that its the best Swans work to date. Definitely thinking of picking this up soon...would like to hear it on vinyl.

OP, I also agree with your sentiments concerning the cover. Very fitting and again, like the music, representative of Swans career as a whole.
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Dragunov
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Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 6:34 pm
Posts: 2357
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:37 pm 
 

Can't wait for this. Probably my most anticipated next to the new Gorguts.

SuperVeji4 wrote:
In all honesty I found these sections to be nothing but a nuisance for I am not a fan of old Swans (Good thing there’s computer programs like Audacity that give me the ability to delete these sections)


:getout: :wink:

Also, why do you despise "Soundtracks For The Blind" so? It's a demanding listen, yes, but I still spin it every now and again. Good album in my eyes.
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megalowho
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Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:33 am
Posts: 479
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:18 pm 
 

MazeofTorment wrote:
Really now? I live in Lexington and was also at that show. It was, indeed, a brutal, mind numbing experience to say the least.


Yeah, I drove there from Indianapolis. As soon as I arrived, I saw Gira pissing on a dumpster. :)

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dystopia4
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Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:47 pm
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:57 pm 
 

Haven't heard it yet, but this is good news, loved most of the songs on the last one. The only thing I'm concerned about is the fact that it's a double album, more often than not double albums end up with a fair amount of filler. The Jarboe thing is really cool, I never thought that would happen.
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GuntherTheUndying
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Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 4:36 pm
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:34 pm 
 

Weird that you should make this thread today, because I was chatting with a friend last night who vigorously implied The Swans were the band of bands. I listened to Lunacy last night and loved it...so yea, I'm definitely ready to hear this badboy in full, even though I'm only a day-old fan as of this post.
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SuperVeji4
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Joined: Sun Sep 17, 2006 10:33 pm
Posts: 590
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:52 pm 
 

Dragunov wrote:
Also, why do you despise "Soundtracks For The Blind" so? It's a demanding listen, yes, but I still spin it every now and again. Good album in my eyes.

The album is filled with nothing but fillers and soundscapes, tracks that have nothing but ambients and sound clips that, quite frankly, don’t go anywhere. What I wanted was the beautiful, adventurous sound that can be found on their previous CDs like, ‘The Great Annihilator’ or ‘White Light from the Mouth of Infinity.’ ‘Soundtrack for the Blind’ simply had none of these, and to think that that was their swansong. Talk about disappointment. Now with this CD, ‘The Seer,’ if this is their swansong album, then it would be a fitting end, the album that ‘Soundtrack for the Blind’ should have been.

dystopia4 wrote:
The Jarboe thing is really cool, I never thought that would happen.

Me neither, but then again keep in mind it’s not really that big of a deal. As I said she only does background melodic vocal work on two songs; now if she had actually done lead vocals on one or two tracks, then that would’ve been something really special. Oh well, let us hope that this could build up into her having a bigger role on the next album.

GuntherTheUndying wrote:
Weird that you should make this thread today, because I was chatting with a friend last night who vigorously implied The Swans were the band of bands. I listened to Lunacy last night and loved it...so yea, I'm definitely ready to hear this badboy in full, even though I'm only a day-old fan as of this post.

This album would actually be a good start for it does have a little bit of everything they have ever done in their entire career. ‘The Great Annihilator’ and ‘White Light from the Mouth of Infinity’ are two other albums that are considered to be their best by many, especially in the later era of Swans.

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PostMetalActivist
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:07 pm
Posts: 194
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:50 am 
 

What albums should I start with to get into Swans? I got whole discography(Don't think it has this new one obv.), and I just pick random songs. I really like them, but they are all amazingly different and I feel I'm missing the point.

I'm into post metal as you can tell/prog/extreme metals/good black metal sometimes, death if its melodic or not boring, folky, whatever you name it if it's decent.

And I've heard they delve into all these crazy genres but I seem to have the luck of picking some ambient filler track EVERY TIME.

their discog is HUGE by the way, so it's not like I'm a total doofus here

WHAT ALBUM I START? lol

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megalowho
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:33 am
Posts: 479
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:42 pm 
 

For something "post"-like, a couple songs from Soundtracks for the Blind come to mind (though the rest of the album might strike you as having a lot of ambient "filler"). They take a few minutes to build:

"Helpless Child" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7Gg-DqFIkM
"The Sound" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCWwtH9Yr54

See also their second most recent album, My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky. It's relatively short (so not as draining as their other works can be) and often quite metallic, as in this song:

"My Birth" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sy_p28PXG0Q

One of their live albums, Swans Are Dead, has some pretty intense numbers (including renditions of both of the Soundtracks tracks I linked above), like these ones:

"Not Alone" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjuEstNMoo8
"I Am the Sun" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUxJPZWduec

Huge discography indeed. Hope my recommendations help.

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SuperVeji4
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Sep 17, 2006 10:33 pm
Posts: 590
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:04 pm 
 

Damn man, the songs they play live sound nothing like the way they do in the album.

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Twisted_Psychology
Veteran

Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 8:22 pm
Posts: 3001
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:09 pm 
 

The song lengths on The Seer make me rather nervous but I'll probably end up looking into it since My Father... was one of the best albums that came out in 2010. Also, Children Of God is awesome and New Mind will rape your face.
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megalowho
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:33 am
Posts: 479
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:47 pm 
 

Got my copy of The Seer today. Here's hoping it lives up to the hype. (4.5 stars on AMG. Gira called it the culmination of 30 years' work.)

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slayerhatesusall
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 7:45 pm
Posts: 1812
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:22 pm 
 

It sure has a high review average on rateyourmusic, number one rated album for 2012. http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/swans/the_seer/
The reviews make it seem like it will be similar to my favorite swans album soundtracks for the blind, haven't listened to it yet but will buy a copy soon.
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Numerator_41
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 2:06 am
Posts: 1148
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:51 pm 
 

Not sure whether I want to drop $18+ on this or not. Early Swans is some of my favorite music, but I didn't really care for their last album, and Soundtracks for the Blind is extremely hit and miss. Haven't really listened to their other stuff enough to have much of an opinion on it.
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megalowho
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:33 am
Posts: 479
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:59 pm 
 

It was $16 at the store I went to.

I need to listen to it again (and again), but on my first impression, I found it a bit overwhelming, but still quite good. Nothing really struck me as filler, but I wasn't concentrating too closely. It'll probably become my favorite of 2012 as I listen more (but Swans is my second-favorite band, so I doubt that says much). Based on your lack of enthusiasm for current Swans, I'm not sure you'd care much for it, though there are significant differences. I'd rate it more highly than Soundtracks.

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