Swans - The Glowing Man album review

Pulverising NYC no(ise)-wavers return in triumph.

Swans The Glowing Man album cover

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This incarnation of Michael Gira’s no-wave crusaders have produced a vast amount of music over the past six years, a feat only slightly overshadowed by the truly devastating live shows that saw new material being warped into ever more disorientating shapes.

On one level, The Glowing Man – the final Swans album before Gira reinvents the group once again – is simply more of the same grimly transcendental and remorselessly hypnotic art rock that made albums such as The Seer and To Be Kind such immersive, endlessly fascinating records. This line-up’s chemistry has reached peak levels here, however, leading to astonishingly wild, lysergic adventures in dynamic sound like sprawling opener Cloud Of Forgetting and the bleak, amorphous 21 minutes of Frankie M.

At times Swans sound like they’ve harnessed the unstoppable swell of the great oceans, most powerfully on the 29-minute title track, which veers from euphoric mantra to pulverising Krautrock with mesmerising effect.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.