Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Swans - Filth CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.74 | 60 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars Sometimes, it's hard to believe the person responsible for this brutal and heavy no-wave music is the same person responsible for the progressive masterpieces they would produce in the future. Michael Gira says about the band's formative years that it just felt good to make music as loud and harsh as possible, and that is what they did.

"Filth" is Swans debut album, released after their first EP. The music here continues in much the same vein, however, there had already been a disruption in the band's line up since then. Using two bassists that double over the same chord, and two drummers using angular and chaotic drumming patterns, Swans used noise and power to get their point across and to make songs that lamented about the societal disfunctions the world was experiencing.

Since this album was released in 1983, it was a musical style that was way out of the norm of the music of the time. Even punk music couldn't match the straight ahead, unrelenting sound of this music, and because of that, the album was pretty much ignored by the masses. However, it was still very influential to the many different heavy styles of music that are currently out there now.

The music is unrelenting and noisy, yet it has a certain swing to it that keeps it moving forward. Where the band's sophomore album "Cop" has the feeling of a tyrannosaurus rex slogging through a tar pit, slow and brutal, this album is comparatively up beat, but that's not saying much so don't get the wrong idea. This album is actually easier to listen to, not quite so depressive, but again, that's like comparing mud to thickening cement. Swans through the years have seemed to center their musical wanderings based on repetitive patterns and pushing them to the limit. That is also the case with this album, but the main difference between this one and much of their earlier work, is that there is a lot more diversity amongst the tracks, and that is the main strength of this album in comparison to their other early albums.

Even with the positives of this album, however, it's still hard to rate it higher than a 3 for me, though if it were possible, I would give it 3 1/2 stars compared to 3 or lower for their other early albums. It is my favorite of their early recordings. If you have heard their later albums, the ones that are more progressive, and never heard their earlier albums, just be warned this is nothing like that. However, keep in mind that this music is still very influential for heavy music to come. Listening to it, I can't help but admire that it was so ahead of it's time.

TCat | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this SWANS review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.