SWANS — Young God

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SWANS - Young God cover
3.33 | 2 ratings | 2 reviews
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EP · 1984

Filed under Metal Related


1. I Crawled (5:40)
2. Raping a Slave (6:20)
3. Young God (7:04)
4. This Is Mine (5:26)

Total time 24:30


- Harry Crosby / bass
- Michael Gira / vocals, tapes
- Roli Mosimann / drums, tapes
- Norman Westberg / guitar

About this release

K.422/Some Bizzare records
Re-issued 1992 on K.422 with Cop LP

Thanks to triceratopsoil, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
SWANS emerged in the short-lived New York City no wave noise rock scene with their debut album “Filth” and earlier eponymous EP but in 1984 they not only released their second album “Cop” but also an extended play (EP) that didn’t really have a title at the time. It consisted of only four tracks and has been referred to “Raping A Slave” and “I Crawled” (both album tracks) but is officially referred as YOUNG GOD which is the title of the longest track, therefore it has pretty much gone down in history under that title. The fourth unfortunate track that it hasn’t been named after is “This Is Mine.” Once again SWANS dishes out a strange concoction of punk infused energy, metal tones and timbres all parading in a drone drenched stripped-down minimalism and avant-garde outrage.

Following in the bleakness and brutal nature of the “Cop” album, YOUNG GOD takes the stylistic approach to even more extreme measures offering a glimpse into the mind of the serial killer Ed Gein. The EP takes the no wave, no frills droning percussive march into even more bombastic territories as it even utilizes a chain against a metal table offering a bleaker industrial feel than “Cop” ever dared explore. Likewise, the tempos are even slower and it genuinely sounds as if the sounds that emerge evoke the darkest, most abstract and utterly violent musical offerings possible with an abrasive surreal minimalistic barbarity unlike anything ever conceived.

YOUNG GOD contains only a mere four tracks that don’t even add up to the half hour mark but in their wake leaves a barrage of emotionally bereft hypnotic parades of industrial bleakness and surreal surrender of everything familiar in musical trends of the day. Melodies are replaced by jagged torturous textures of jarring guitar distortion, arhythmic percussive drives that churn along like heart palpitations and the bleakest sewer rat perspective of sado-masochistic sonic torture sessions that incorporate downtuned dread with utter hopelessness.

While the overall effect is equivalent to “Cop,” YOUNG GODS is even more surreal and hypnotic as the guitar parts are more uniform whereas the Michael Gira’s vocals are much more emphatic and take on a more diverse repertoire of tortured prowess. The main effect of YOUNG GOD is one of disbelief as the grimy filth of the guitar and bass distortion churn along with the atypically timed rhythmic flow of the percussion. This one has been cited as a major influence to bands like Nirvana, Neurosis and Godflesh. The Swiss band The Young Gods even named themselves after it. This is about as subversively sinister as music can get before it totally becomes irregular formless noise.

This is the last bout with sheer musical bleakness for SWANS. After YOUNG GODS they would incorporate Jarboe into the band and her influence would forever change the band’s course into more diverse arenas. While the EP was never officially released beyond the initial vinyl pressings, the four tracks that appeared on it can easily be found on modern compilations of the early works. YOUNG GODS takes the unique musical lexicon that SWANS crafted in their earlier years and fleshes out only the bleakest possibilities. So intense is this stuff that more than four tracks of it and it may have caused death. Include this on the “scariest tracks of all time” list.
There's a flicker of tension and pensiveness about the slow doomy dirges on Swans' Young God. Whereas Cop came across as outraged, furious, but ultimately dead and rotting, somewhere deep within Young God something sinister is gradually coming to life. Complementing its parent album interesting - the two releases are usually conjoined on CD reissues - Young God is another important signpost in the early evolution of Swans and sounds even less like traditional doom metal than Cop. Fans of Burning Witch in particular might find this work an intriguing precedent for Witch's own particular brand of "how sickly can I make this riff sound?" doom, though at the same time it does seem like the various compositions largely outstay their welcome, exhausting the ideas behind them by the halfway point. Worth a listen, but maybe not a keeper.

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