‘The Glowing Man’ By Swans Album Review: Experimental, Expressive And Ritualistic Stream-of-Consciousness
Swans is the peculiar experimental rock project of Michael Gira, which has been in existence for decades after being created in 1982 and “put to death” in 1997 only to be resurrected again by its creator in 2010. Swans’ third album since their return The Glowing Man continues in the same vein as its precursors the 2012 The Seer and 2014 To Be Kind in the kind of overwhelmingly grand musical features.
‘The Glowing Man’ by Swans Album Review
The Glowing Man has been said to be the last one by the band’s current configuration, which perhaps justifies its gargantuan scale. Clocking at just around 2 hours, the album contains only 8 songs, some which span over 25 minutes each. the length of those tracks by no means makes them redundant or boring but rather achieves a hypnotizing effect on the listener, which makes them that much more conducive to the emotional and sonic blend of ecstasy, terror and doom.
As usual the kind of music Swans make here is so grand in its scope and ambition that it completely overwhelms the consumer. It’s cinematic quality of the music encourages the creation of apocalyptic pictures as much as our imaginations may spurn the images of war, violence, anxiety and drug abuse spelled out in the lyrics. But they do not tackle such themes lightly or with any malicious intent. If anything, their music attests to the seriousness with which they regard the value of life. The intense vocal textures and contrasts on “Cloud of Unknowing,” for example, evoke a mystical religious experience and reverence, while the lyrics sound like personal mantras. Elsewhere, the music feels instinctual and primal. “When Will Return,” one of the shorter tracks on the record serving as its lead single, showcases the intensity Gira is capable to achieve in a compacted period of time. He is joined by his wife Jennifer for a haunting duet depicting graphically abuse against women.
The Glowing Man is said to be Swans’ final opus and Gira, the mastermind behind the band, has made sure it is one of epic proportions. The album is so high in energy it is actually ecstatic. Leaving very little to the imagination, Gira paints foreboding and disturbing images, while exploring a musical mode of experimental rock of symphonic scale, making this the band’s true “swan album.”
Get It Here! Or Download On iTunes!