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Swans - Filth CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.87 | 42 ratings

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3 stars The world through The Fall's Paul Spector's eyes: 7/10

If black metal brings images of dense, foggy trees, FILTH is illustrated both by rusty, abandoned factories and by darkened alleyways of decaying metropolises. SWANS' debut's combination of No Wave's unmelodic heavy dissonance and Industrial's metallurgic hatred creates what sounds to be a shout of unscrupulous antisociality. While thoroughly despising man's filthy behavior of greed, sadism, etc., SWANS, paradoxically stimulates it. The scum of mankind and its internalized misanthropy is given a voice, namely, Gira's growled, despaired voice. Filthy behavior is viewed without morality or judgments, sometimes, it is even glorified ("USE YOUR BODY TO GET SATISFACTION! SATISFY THE DOG!") because modern society is profligate, filled with squalor and degeneracy, and depravity is just a reflex of that. Cynic misanthropy, contempt for others and selfishness MUST be the rule in this wild, wild, world. If you can't beat it, embrace it. Sounds like introspectively dense and even disgusting, doesn't it? Well, I think it is. Pretty heavy stuff.

Good symbolism with mediocre expression is worthless, though. FILTH, however, isn't mediocre. In fact, it's a good experimental mixture between two underground and misunderstood genres. The first is the post-punk No Wave: raw, atonal, dissonant, implicitly influential in SWANS' crude anger, inaccessibility, and hedonism. The second is the incipient Industrial genre, much more noticeable than the previous one. The percussion alludes to a factory with its constant metallic pounds, sawings, trituration, and so on; the atmosphere is grimy, alienated, isolated. Combine that to No Wave's virulence and you get a view of the world through the spiteful, wrathful lenses of marginalized scum.

While it may seem SWANS is to offer a homogeneous experience, surprisingly, there's variation in this wretched album. Stay Here, the greeter, is rhythmically hypnotic and addictive, even if abrasively heavy, slow, pounding. Big Strong Boss is pureblood No Wave with its atonal post-punk-ness. Blackout combines a wickedly distorted, cacophonic and random guitar, rhythmical pounding, and an angered (backed by growled) vocals, making me feel it's honestly the scarier track of the album. Power for Power features funereal vocals and an atmospheric, melodic guitar really reminiscent of black metal. Freak is pretty much grindcore. Gang is pure, gritty, industrial music. See? Variation.

Its message is far from positive, good or socially acceptable. It's brutal, scary, it paints the modern world as even more vicious than the natural, free-for-all pre-Neolithic one. But it's still a great musical experiment. It's hard to rate it in terms of progressive rock, actually. It's half punk half industrial, genres which aren't even linked to rock, so I can't call it that. I'd say this is an excellent addition to anyone who likes to explore music, not prog rock specifically. But this is ProgArchives, so...

Luqueasaur | 3/5 |


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