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COP

Swans

Post Rock/Math rock


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Swans Cop album cover
3.36 | 24 ratings | 3 reviews | 17% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing


Side A

1. Half Life (4:18)
2. Job (4:46)
3. Why Hide (5:50)
4. Clay Man (5:05)

Side B

1. Your Property (4:48)
2. Cop (6:47)
3. Butcher (4:02)
4. Thug (5:12)

Lyrics

Search SWANS Cop lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians


- Michael Gira / vocals, tapes, production
- Harry Crosby / bass guitar
- Norman Westberg / guitar
- Roli Mosimann / drums, production

Releases information

K.422 Records 1984

Thanks to The Truth for the addition
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SWANS Cop ratings distribution


3.36
(24 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
17%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(22%)
22%
Good, but non-essential (48%)
48%
Collectors/fans only (9%)
9%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

SWANS Cop reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dobermensch
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Cop' sounds like black metal in slow motion. Like watching a train crash frame by frame on slow play DVD. It's Swans most extreme recording by a long way where Roli Mosimann's drums hammer over and over driving nails into your skull as both guitarists screech out the most unpleasant dirge you're likely to hear this side of Sirius. Everything bar the vocals sounds like it's being played at half speed. And the drums are loud. Really loud! Not only that but they constantly have a heavy decay and booming effect throughout.

Coupled with Gira's gut wrenching wails and visceal utterings, it's one of the most intense albums you're likely to find in the Prog Archives. The doubled vocal tracks certainly lifts this immeasurably and leaves it sounding greater than the sum of its parts.

This is Swans just before Jarboe (female singer) joined, where everything sounds soaked in male testosterone and sweat. A nasty, brutal and uncompromising album from beginning to end. Beware: if you're looking for something uplifting with musical finesse look far, far away from 'Cop'.

This is serial killer soundtrack material. A feeling of hopelessness and and anger is present from the outset - and it's pretty much relentless. You're unlikely to hear such self loathing on any recording from '84 to present day.

Quite honestly though, there's nothing that sounds like 'Cop' anywhere and that's why I have a fair amount affinity with it. The confrontational angst which runs throughout will be more than most sensible or normal folks can handle. Thankfully, I'm not normal nor sensible, therefore it hits all the happy buttons with me. A cathartic experience for anyone's mind that is full of dark ugly thoughts.

My personal favourite track is 'Clay Man' - replete with growling, shouted vocals amidst a one chord thumped bass note that is enough to make you think that Michael Gira has his hands in someone's entrails with a face covered in blood as he spits and wrenches out lyrics such as 'Your flesh is easy, your flesh is soft, the shame, the shame'. Sledgehammer drums with echoed high hats only add to the disturbing atmosphere. Scary biscuits indeed!

There's no light at the end of this long dark tunnel. Goodness knows who I can recommend this to. It's just too extreme and heavy for this website, but I'm glad it's here.

Review by TCat
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars AllMusic calls this album one of the most darkest albums ever recorded. I have to agree. This is dark sludgy metal, brutal to the bone with no light whatsoever. Grinding metal, slow pounding drums and deep dark vocals run through the entirety of this album. Listening to this, you have to admire the focus and the determination to keep this music at an almost constant tempo, slow and trodding, like a herd of dinosaurs wading through a thick tar pit with no hope of deliverance. Each track features a gruesome sounding guitar hook that is mostly played over and over with a thumping bass. There is some amount of melody apparent in a few tracks, like "Butcher". The vocals, sounding more like chants from a prehistoric tribe at times and other times like crazed horror movie murderers, are sometimes repetitive and other times exploratory. The main theme here apparently is sexual domination and submission. To me, there is nothing sexual about it, but I guess we all have our own tastes. But I do have a degree of appreciation for the way the sound is explored.

Anyway, it's a tough one to listen to, but if you love this kind of music, it seems to me that it is interesting enough and would be one that you would enjoy. The production isn't bad either. This music is a far cry from what would come later. A female vocalist would be added after the release of this album which would bring some needed variety to the sound of The Swans. Also, more ingenuity would be added to the music, hence the reason why this music is included in the Archives. It is actually quite surprising that buried in this music is ingenuity. As you slog your way through their discography, you will continue to hear the evolution of their sound. As far as this album, there unfortunately is not a lot of prog, but you can hear a tendency to post metal, and this will eventually evolve to full fledged math rock. As for this album, we will have to settle for 3 stars. Good, but non- essential.

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Swans take doom metal riffs, post-punk production and disturbing lyrics and sort of mash them up into an unbelievably ugly gumbo on Cop, their second album. Howling about police brutality, heartache, jobs and violence, frontman Michael Gira is backed by riffs that sound like the world's roof falling in. Pegged by some as noise rock (and good golly is it noisy), I personally see it as a precedent for Black Flag's latter-day experiments in slowing their riffs down and getting weird (see, for instance, The Process of Weeding Out). Just about saved from doom metal territory by virtue of a complete lack of 1970s nostalgia or stoner pipe dreams, Cop is a cold, hard look at an ugly reality.

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