WOW! This is a remarkable, raw, riotous plus often raucous and rough ride but one tumultuous trip which takes the listener on an epic journey through the burning fires of Satan’s well stoked fireplace-and, to come out the other side whether through prayer, spirit or fortune is a triumph. Swans via the double disc of The Glowing Man form a recipe that has the feel of:
*Carnage Visors the bonus instrumental set that accompanied the Faith album as created The Cure.
*Mogwai music that followed on from the aforementioned work from Robert Smith and his cohorts.
*The demonic drive of the recently deceased Alan Vega and his Suicide CV. Think in particular his howls and yelps -primarily those Frankie Teardrop cries. This banshee bawl is accompanied by the sonorous assists of sidekick Marty Rev (but given an industrial strength mix and then the volume is turned to one hundred louder!). NB There is even a song entitled Frankie M present!
*The hell’s bells theatrics and die for the cause screams of Nick Cave within the manic momentum of The Birthday Party. For this is also a soundtrack that vaults from the sonic swamps and then pounces to ambush your mind, soul and leave every part of your body tingling with fear!
Swans clock up songs that turn in to alt. rock symphonic stomps that can range from several to the nearly 29 minutes of the title track-a charge which puts one in mind of The Fall-and, the juggernaut assaults of Reformation as well as Auto Chip 2014-2016. However, to keep this fury going for nearly half an hour is some achievement-especially as the listener is left dangling on that cliff edge. Ironically we are taken from this point to the closing chorus of Finally Peace which is more Polyphonic Spree in its arias overtones.
The stated two offerings close this affair but there is plenty of uneasy, unsettling listening across eight tracks which fall just 43 seconds short of two hours! Big in sound, big in performance and big in length! However, Swans can dip away from the furore, but mostly it is the humongous that constitutes the contents of this heavyweight release.
This is a record has a religious, spiritual edge shifting between beauty and the camp of the wounded beast. However, Swans led by Michael Gira cannot be accused of doing anything by half measures-and, a band that arrived in 1982 could slip off in to a land of deep and dark ballads and still prove a point. However, that is not to be as this behemoth wants its audience to feel the roar of its power.
After disbanding in 1997, Swans returned with the acclaimed albums: My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky (2010), The Seer (2012) and To Be Kind (2014). All in the name of love Gira decided to carve a new path for Swans and that meant carving out a new rock route that may borrow minimal elements of their past to forge a new future.
Along with primarily Norman Westberg, Kristof Hahn, Phil Puleo, Christopher Pravdica, Thor Harris and Bill Riefin the channel taken is not one that has commercial aims but artistic goals. Gira states ‘whatever the force is that has led us through this extended excursion, it’s been worthwhile for many of us, and I’m grateful for what has been the most consistently challenging and fulfilling period of my musical life’.
Brutal and vital! The Glowing Man is not for the weak and it is not for every week. Nonetheless, do no escape its merits. This is not The Byrds, The Housemartins The Eagles or A Flock of Seagulls-this is Swans-and, be prepared!