Swans | The Great Annihilator | Review
They've never compromised their vision one iota
Well it certainly has been a strange and lonely journey for mad Michael Gira and his po-faced cohorts. From nihilistic tortured art rock to stark minimalism to major label debacle to redemption through blinding revelations in the white light of their own young god, they've never compromised their vision one iota. Now relocated to rural Georgia, Swans consider themselves to be beyond the boundaries of rock, a free vehicle to do whatever taskmaster Gira and his numinous minions see fit. Chief amongst Gira's collaborators is the long-suffering Jarboe whose ghostly presence on "My Buried Child" echoes fellow New Yorkers Sonic Youth's "J.C." requiem. Old stalwarts Norman Westberg, Algis Kizys and Ted Parsons line up alongside present and past members of Ministry, Foetus, Killing Joke and Pigface to back Gira's most ambitions and eclectic vision yet. He proudly boasts that this is Swans best album to date, and he's probably right: 3 years in the making, "The Great Annihilator" combines the power of Swans earlier work with their latter day majesty. Of course there are moments of utter absurdity, particularly on "Telepathy" where Gira sings "I saw you through the window masturbating to the violence, and the blood and the bodies floated through the blue sun." But the man is a serious artist goddammit, so forgive him his pretensions and po-faced pomposity! Throughout themes of release through death, frustration at mortality and somatic entrapment reoccur in dream-like imagery. Disturbingly, the night before this CD was delivered I dreamt that a swan pecked out my heart. But I didn't die. Yeah, Michael, just where does a body end?