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Swans - Filth CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.88 | 44 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I don't know about you but this gets me pumped up like nothing else and I'm now ready to burst through walls with bare fists.

This first Lp by Swans is also one of their best. 'Mr angry' Michael Gira vents his spleen at all who are willing to listen. Agonised barks and shouted vocals about control and violence are at the forefront throughout this beastly 1983 outing. Seriously... this can't have been good for his health at all. His blood pressure must have been through the roof. The man clearly had some issues.

The music within sounds like how the iconic cover looks - visceral. It's a weirdly paced explosive Blitzkrieg of an album.

It's brutal stuff from beginning to end. There's no variation in mood and it's all atonal and nihilistic. Having dual drummers and a thumping repetitive non melodic bass makes a huge impact on the overall bludgeoning sound. It's like being repeatedly hit over the head with a shovel . Not just musically, but lyrically too, as lines are growled many times over. Subtle use of electronics and tapes add an extra dimension - it's incongruous hearing backward wobbly vocals on such a raw album

Deliberately there's no let up. No break in mood, just an all encompassing, pulverising psychic attack. 'Filth' is more lively than their following 3 albums which just leave you feeling shattered. This is therefore a less dismal listening experience. 'Filth' is an ideal listen for participating in endurance sports, as it squeezes every ounce of blood out of your pores.

The guitars played by Norman Westberg sound like some crazed Doctor sawing through bones. They're mean and dark and sound like they're being played with shards of glass rather than plectrums. They are used solely in conjunction with the pounding drums.

Some have called this the heaviest record ever made. It's not. My vote for that award probably goes to 'Dissecting Table', 'Merzbow' or early 'Controlled Bleeding'. However it certainly must be the heaviest album to appear in the 'Archives'. I'm sure most of this websites readers would feel as though they're being run over by a steam-roller in slow motion on first exposure to this aural assault.

'Filth' is an exhilirating and intense experience which will leave you baying for blood. If the Marquis de Sade were alive today, I'm sure it would have been his favourite 'Desert Island Disc'.

You can put the party hats and streamers away folks.

This is military boot camp stuff run by an angry drill Sergeant, so get down on your hands and knees and give me 100 press-ups. Now!

Dobermensch | 4/5 |


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