Swans – The Seer
With a running time of two hours, Swans' second album since the project's reactivation in 2010 is something of an endurance test. Yet, given band leader Michael Gira's claim that it's the culmination of everything he's ever done or dreamed of doing, such excess is understandable – necessary, even.
Aside from containing the appropriate level of volume expected from a Swans release, The Seer largely revisits the gothic Americana found in Gira's Angels of Light project; most prevalent on the idyllic Song for a Warrior, which provides the appropriate respite from the chaos with a well-met guest turn from Karen O.
But it's those moments of sheer visceral energy that truly hit home: Avatar builds with repetition before erupting into a rousing magisterial din, and the thirty-minute title track equally excites and disturbs with violent power. These songs will likely continue to mutate at the band's cathartic live shows, but as it stands The Seer already has much to offer, fusing together aggression and grace with thunderous results.