Swans - Soundtracks For The Blind
(Young God)

What can be said about Swans that hasn't been pounded into the minds of fans and admirers for years? A group like no other, heavy and monolithic in their own singular, yet kaleidoscopic fashion. One of the defining moments for Swans was the release of this gargantuan double LP, Soundtracks For The Blind, in 1996. By this point the band had already gone through a massive stylistic change, bringing more acoustic instruments into the line-up, folk and roots influences, and less stomach-churning volume. A mere two years after the release of Soundtracks, the band would disband, which is an interesting bit of context. It is a brutally long, diverse swath of sounds, a grand statement if you will that combines nearly all of the past incarnations of the band's existence and mixing them into this 2+ hour long album. Some of my absolute favorite Swans moments are here, most notably "The Sound", a 13 minute masterpiece that gets tremendously loud, ascending in such a fantastic way. Similar to that is the epic "Helpless Child", which in addition to the grand crescendo has these fabulously brittle, distorted guitar notes and tribal drum beats. It is however, still an incredibly dense piece of work. The length does tend to be an issue for me when I want to sit down and listen to it. It's an intimidating run time for sure. Now that it's been reissued on vinyl for the first time, it's interesting to take it in side by side. It's a long, loud and beautiful musical journey that has an incredible amount of captivating and awe inspiring moments. Definitely one of the most interesting and original records for Swans, and the 90's in general. (Seven)
Check out a track here