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CHILDREN OF GOD

Swans

Post Rock/Math rock


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Swans Children of God album cover
4.59 | 28 ratings | 2 reviews | 41% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music


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Studio Album, released in 1987

Songs / Tracks Listing


1. New Mind (5:13)
2. In My Garden (5:34)
3. Our Love Lies (5:50)
4. Sex, God, Sex (6:49)
5. Blood and Honey (4:46)
6. Like a Drug (Sha La La La) (5:36)
7. You're Not Real, Girl (4:21)
8. Beautiful Child (5:16)
9. Blackmail (3:34)
10. Trust Me (5:23)
11. Real Love (6:23)
12. Blind Love (7:46)
13. Children of God (4:34)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians


- Michael Gira / vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar, album cover concept and design, production
- Jarboe / vocals, backing vocals, piano, keyboards
- N. Westberg - electric guitar, acoustic guitar
- Theodore Parsons - drums, percussion

Additional personnel:

- Simon Fraser / flute on "In My Garden"
- Audrey Riley / cello on "Like a Drug (Sha La La La)"
- Lindsay Cooper / oboe on "Blackmail" and "Trust Me"
- William Barnhardt / piano on "Blackmail"

Releases information

Caroline Records 1987 Studio Album

Thanks to The Truth for the addition
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Buy SWANS Children of God Music


Children of God / World of SkinChildren of God / World of Skin
Remastered
YOUNG GOD 2003
Audio CD$19.00
$9.90 (used)
Children Of GodChildren Of God
Caroline / Product 1990
Audio CD$99.99
$49.87 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
LP the burning world ~ USD $28.99


More places to buy SWANS music online Buy SWANS & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
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SWANS Children of God ratings distribution


4.59
(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(41%)
41%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
41%
Good, but non-essential (15%)
15%
Collectors/fans only (4%)
4%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

SWANS Children of God reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
5 stars The 'prog' versus 'progressive' label has never hit home to me more than this release. Children Of God, to me, is not only one of the best albums I've ever heard, but also one of the most important in regards to my own development as a fan of rock music itself. Decades later, there's been no shortage of bands incorporating styles akin to certain tracks off this album and even developing them further, but back in 1987 this release was such a unique beast for its time, equal parts beautiful and monstrous...unlike anything I was used to.

The most obvious development of the band at this point was the increase in Jarboe's presence vocally, as well as the haunting ballads interspersed throughout the album. Heavy industrial sounding monolith "New Mind" is followed by the ethereal yet eventually eerie piece "In My Garden", proclaiming this album to be an experience in which how the next track will sound would be anyone's guess. I was hooked by this point during my inception by this time.

There are two different versions of "Our Love Lies" that I know of, in which the original heavy bluesy Caroline Records version that I own on cassette is superior to the more folksy version found on re-releases. Hopefully, subsequent re-releases will retrieve the original version to its rightful place within this album.

About the instrumentation...it's perfect in establishing a mood in an almost trance-like way, not as something to scrutinize technically. That isn't important here, but the compositions themselves are worthy of praise for their unsettling nature. From the haunting creepiness of the Jarboe sung "Blood And Honey" to the ferocious pulpit bombast of "Beautiful Child" to the tranquil beauty of "Blackmail", there's such variety of sounds and ideas going on while maintaining an almost singular theme that its almost hard to believe that the band were able to pull this off without coming across like a band in transition. They weren't. SWANS were on fire at this point. Just about everything mattered, with only "Like A Drug" being a bit off-putting to me, but not enough to lesson the overall power of this release and all of its sublime qualities.

In 1987 my musical interests had shifted so far away from the prog rock I was into during the early 80's to crossover thrash metal to such an extent that I was due for something different, and Children Of God was my catalyst. Not only did I embrace this album, I drifted into non-metal music that retained a gloomy aura and subsequently even branched out into delicate music in general as well as other forms of rock that I had ditched for a few years. Floyd became relevant again, and while I never stopped listening to metal...in fact I delved deeper to the more extreme side of things (in which early SWANS stuff arguably could be seen as an influence), my interest in progressive and experimental styles of music went ballistic in the late 80's and continues to this day.

Outside of my own personal growth, the merits of this album may be a little off-putting for some, but the creative aspects involved in this recording shouldn't be denied. Gira based his boisterous vocals on Southern preachers and the effects these fire and brimstone preaching types held over their congregation, and he pulls it off with aplomb, matched by Jarboe's unnerving vibrato.

Equal parts venomous and tranquil, Children Of God remains my favorite album of there's, and while each tune carries a sort of pin-pointed impact, as a whole this album captures a lot of emotions and atmosphere that very few have equaled in my own experience while growing up in the 80's, and it resonates strongly still whenever I feel the urge for the primal currents of power, fear, glory and destitution that surge throughout this opus. Whether it's essential or not is your decision, but to me it's a masterpiece regardless of whatever terminology of "progressive" one chooses to utilize.

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Send comments to Prog Sothoth (BETA) | Report this review (#1207065) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Review by TCat
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This album sees a lot of improvement in the sound of Swans. There is still a lot of loud guitar, but it's not dirty and unrefined like the first albums. But it is till heavy, that is, when it is heavy. Now the Swans are branching out to explore other things.

Swans is music in the extreme, previously loud, hard and heavy, but now that wall of sound is breaking up a lot, the lyrics are a lot more understandable, but they are still just as dark. Never has the label extreme music been evident as much though as on this album. The first track is on the heavy, loud and metallic like you would expect, but the 2nd track sung by Jarboe is on the extreme soft side. I wouldn't call it minimalistic, but it's like a completely different world, except for the lyrics which remain dark. This contrast continues through the album, with Michael Gira mostly leading the loud tracks while Jarboe leads the softer tracks. If you haven't heard Gira's voice, imagine a voice as deep and dark as the lead singer from Bauhaus and then go down about 5 notches. We're talking "John Wayne" deep. So his singing is really without much of a melody. But it works here. Jarboe however, is more dynamic and has quite an impressive range, though she typically on this album stays within the same range within a song. I was actually surprised at how low her register can go as in the song "Blood and Honey".

In the past, the instruments were quite repetitive, churning out heavy riffs at extreme volume. I find in this release, the instruments are still repetitive, but now that the wall of noise is broken down, you can hear the band experimenting with new sounds and new timbres. On this album, you get surprise appearances of a flute, an oboe, a harmonica, strings and you also get background vocals.

Even though this all makes the album sound more accessible than their earlier albums, believe me, it's not. This is dark music and it is still extreme, just not as loud as before. To appreciate the music here, you have to make a commitment to listen. This album is all about contrast, the contrast of good and evil, or maybe, there isn't really a contrast at all. You have to listen to get the nuances of this music, the brilliance of it and this appreciation doesn't just come on one listen. It takes time. But it is good and it is progressive and it is original. Are you ready for it? This is not your mother's prog and she is not going to save you once you click the "play" button. This is one of the landmark Swan albums, and remember there just wasn't anything out there that was like this when it came out, especially in alternative music. I have to go with 5 stars on this, but that doesn't mean it is for everybody, so be warned.

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Send comments to TCat (BETA) | Report this review (#1309778) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, November 16, 2014

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