SWANS - The Great Annihilator 2LP

SWANS - The Great Annihilator 2LP

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The Swans are a study in metamorphoses. In 1983, when Melody Maker magazine dubbed the NYC noise mavens "a deeply repulsive form of audio pornography," it was more a compliment than a slam. Cacophonous, confrontational, and unrelentingly loud, the band used vocal rants and bone-crunching distortion to achieve unparalleled levels of sonic pain. 

Then, around '87 or so, rock's ugliest ducking found its inner Swan and blossomed into a vehicle for sweeping, complex arrangements of keyboards, strings and evocative sound effects. Vocalist Michael Gira traded his guttural growl for the croon of a balladeer, and the latter-day Swans were born.

Their 12th album, The Great Annihilator, is a majestic symphony of haunting melodies and shifting moods. Spirituality - or rather the absence of it - provides the linking motif. With a kinetic industrial goose step, "She Lives!" plays with chanted images of madness and martyrdom, while the jagged coda of "Celebrity Lifestyle" lays the groundwork for a cutting look at material dreams: "She's just a drug addiction/ And a self-reflecting image of a narcoticized mind." "Warm" forms the album's thematic center, overflowing with ethereal vocal loops and drums that patter like raindrops accross the lyrical landscape. On "Mother/Father" and the mantric "My Buried Child," vocalist Jarboe outdoes herself with a spectrum of darkly distinctive voices. 

Taken on its own, this album is a vivid example of how to combine the dissonant with the dulcet while retaining a dangerous edge. Viewed in the context of the Swans' 12-year journey from audio pornography to majestic romanticism, The Great Annihilator serves as an epic apotheosis.

The double vinyl edition includes (in the form of a download code) Drainland, Michael Gira’s debut solo album recorded at the same time as The Great Annihilator.

"I have long been uneasy with the sound of the mastered version of The Great Annihilator (and it's companion, contemporaneous  solo album, Drainland, included here in this new release). For whatever reason things drifted out of hand at the time, and there was never enough time or money to untangle the sonic knots created by the original unsatisfactory mastering that took place until now. It was with the utmost alacrity that I received the news recently from my friend Bill Rieflin that he had discovered the original (after much digging), unmastered mixes for both albums in his archives. We were able to proceed now with lovingly mastering both Great Annihilator and Drainland from these virgin sources, with our right hand mastering man Doug Henderson in Berlin, Germany. I have to say I'm rather pleased with the result. It's one of those instances where it's like hearing the thing for the first time again. I hope you enjoy the experience.

- Drainland is a 1995 obscure solo album by me, co-produced by the lovely Bill Rieflin and myself, with musical contributions from Bill and Jarboe. Mostly featuring spare arrangements, it was recorded in Bill's living room. Some of this is pretty damn good. Some of it isn't! In all modesty, I think the good outweighs the bad. It was recorded immediately after the recording of GA. " - M. Gira 2017

Double black vinyl LP in gatefold cover.

Young God 2017

 


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