Swans | The Great Annihilator | ReviewYOU GOTTA applaud Michael Gira. YOU GOTTA applaud Michael Gira. 10 albums, a couple of live offerings, 12-inchers, compilations, decibels and pain later, his visions of paradise burning is capable of besting even itself. "The Great Annihilator" is the NYC (and now transplanted to rural Georgia) sweat 'n' muscle troupe's best work in years.
Joined by longtime Swans Jarboe, Al Kizys, Norman Westberg, Prong's Ted Parsons (guesting with the outfit Tommy Victor plucked him from) and ex-Ministry man Bill Rieflin, it's the most forceful Swans in years, hammering through slabs of noise, Jarboe's plaintive vocal waxings, Middle Eastern strains and wafting atmospherics. The raw power of its tense, truncheon rhythm combines with a blissed-out swirl of sound, brute force and brute beauty.
Years ago, the Swans left the thudding art Metal to the Melvins and Black Flag and got on to new turf. "Celebrity Lifestyle" is a sunglasses-indoors workout in cool. "Mind/Body/Light/Sound" is scorched-earthed Goth, while "Alcohol the Seed" shows the Jourgensen clan just who was crushing eardrums first.
Words like 'intensity' simply fail here. It's all too huge, too overpowering. There's nothing meek about the Swans.