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Swans: The Seer

Last Updated 9/29/2012 1:20:14 PM

By: Brian Campbell

Swans The Seer (Young God)Swans

The Seer

(Young God)

Did Swans The Seer really take three decades to make? Well it did, according to frontman Michael Gira, who said, “It's the culmination of every previous Swans album, as well as any other music I've ever made, been involved in or imagined,” and yes, this album sounds as if that is a factually correct statement. The Seer is the most expansive and most comprehensive Swans has ever sounded, which is evident by the fact that The Seer clocks in at a sprawling two hours, smattered across two discs.

The thing about this album, however, is that it doesn’t feel like a two-hour record – it’s far from a chore after you press “play,” and comes across more like an experience. The mountainous title track clocks in at 32 minutes, a dissonant track that truly embodies the experience that is The Seer, while its follow-up, “The Seer Returns,” showcases some unique percussion. Yeah Yeah Yeah frontwoman Karen O makes her presence felt on “Song for a Warrior,” a shimmering affair that leads the album down quite the sonic path, but it’s the 23-minute closer “The Apostate” that truly stuns. The Seer’s final waltz needs time, and yes, time is something you should invest on this track, as when “The Apostate” gets to where it needs to be, all hell breaks loose, as the album dissolves into a near-cataclysmic affair.

The Seer is an album that you cannot afford to miss, one that should find its way near or at the top of many year-end “best of” lists. After three decades in the making, The Seer was 30 years well spent.

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