Swans | The Great Annihilator | ReviewA satisfying return to form A satisfying return to form for perhaps the most visceral of musical groups today: Michael Gira is back in a big way, joined by his female alter-ego Jarboe, and old bandmates Algis Kizys and Norman Westberg. Together they have produced their most grinding and powerful release since Children of God. The Great Annihilator employs many of the traits that characterized early Swans releases like Filth; the raw, powerful sound made even more resounding by its speed (slow), and the booming basso voice of Gira himself. Both Westberg and Gira, along with Clinton Steele provide guitar work that sounds so dominating it becomes transcendent into a new instrument altogether.
But some of the lessons learned by the band's later explorations are showcased here as well. These include songs with a bit more structure, almost in the vein of the traditional pop song. Here too is the lush vocal talent of Jarboe who since joining up with the band for Children of God has brought to the band a completely different dimension.
Yet the Great Annihilator returns without rehashing the elemental poetic style that only Gira can pull off effectively. There is not a shred of repression in here. The subject matter is as old and pure as time, far removed from the concerns of anything that can loosely be called pop music. At the core of The Great Annihilator bears the heart of a man laid bare: the curtain of dread and fear tore down. Like every other Swans release, The Great Annihilator is a cathartic experience for the listener. Only this one is the best yet.