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Swans - Anonymous Bodies in an Empty Room CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.07 | 8 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This is a live Swans album that was recorded in various places during their Burning World tour. This was a critical time in Swans history as they were in the middle of changing their sound. They were moving from their older, sludgy sound which was thick, loud, and heavy, to a more progressive sound with a lot more variation in their music. The material they were putting out during this phase was a world apart from their previous sound and they were making huge steps forward in their music. By the time of this release, the public was aware that this was going to be the music the band was going to be making and there would be no return to the old depressing music of the past.

This recording is a good document of where the band was at the time. The album has a good selection that represents the sound of that time. The vocals from Gira are more discernible but as always, they are a little rough. He sings more in the style of Joy Division, but with music that is more varied and heavier. His voice takes a little getting used to. Jarboe however, sings more like Lisa Gerard from Dead Can Dance, just not as polished yet relying more on music inspired from world music sounds. The crowd noises are not very loud on the album, but the overall recording sounds somewhat tinny and, although listenable, not very well mixed. There are high points, but not enough to get real excited about.

The music on this live recording is still rough, but more accessible than the earlier stuff. There are quite a few musicians involved now also, as was the case with The Burning World album. The bad thing is the sound is not always the best as it is in their more current albums, and the music isn't as developed as it will come. It sounds more post-punk with shades of progressiveness, especially in the post rock style, which is representative of the music they did then. As most Swans fans know, their music will become more of a Heavy Prog style, which is their current sound, with complex songs, and still adding in elements of post and math rock.

For this live album, the sound is exactly as I mentioned before, with a leaning heavily towards Joy Division and shades of Dead Can Dance especially when Jarboe takes lead vocals, only a total of two times on this recording. Things are still dark when she sings though, just not as heavy. For those interested in how a band develops and progresses, this is a good example of a band in flux. This is definitely not essential and can't really be considered excellent either. It is good however, definitely better than most of what came in the band previous stage but far from the excellent band they would become.

TCat | 3/5 |


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