Non-Metal / Metal Related • United States
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Swans are an experimental band from New York, New York, whose style has ranged from noise/crust to industrial to post-punk to art rock. They were part of the original "No-Wave" movement of the 80s.

Their earliest releases were very influential on sludge metal and crust punk, and are characterized by dirty, distorted walls of noise, with some considering the 1984 album Cop, the band's second full-length, to be a catalyst for the sludge metal genre to exist. For this reason, they have been included in the archives.
Thanks to triceratopsoil for the addition and adg211288 for the updates

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The Glowing ManThe Glowing Man
$29.54 (used)
To Be KindTo Be Kind
$29.54 (used)
The SeerThe Seer
Special Edition
$8.61 (used)
leaving meaning.leaving meaning.
Young God Records 2019
$9.98 (used)
The Great AnnihilatorThe Great Annihilator
$42.95 (used)
Leaving MeaningLeaving Meaning
MUTE 2019
$14.94 (used)
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SWANS Discography

SWANS albums / top albums

SWANS Filth album cover 4.20 | 9 ratings
Metal Related 1983
SWANS Cop album cover 3.69 | 8 ratings
Metal Related 1984
SWANS Greed album cover 3.33 | 3 ratings
Non-Metal 1986
SWANS Holy Money album cover 3.33 | 3 ratings
Holy Money
Non-Metal 1986
SWANS Children of God album cover 4.32 | 5 ratings
Children of God
Non-Metal 1987
SWANS The Burning World album cover 4.25 | 5 ratings
The Burning World
Non-Metal 1989
SWANS White Light From the Mouth of Infinity album cover 4.28 | 7 ratings
White Light From the Mouth of Infinity
Non-Metal 1991
SWANS Body to Body, Job to Job album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Body to Body, Job to Job
Non-Metal 1991
SWANS Love of Life album cover 3.54 | 5 ratings
Love of Life
Non-Metal 1992
SWANS The Great Annihilator album cover 3.25 | 5 ratings
The Great Annihilator
Non-Metal 1995
SWANS Soundtracks for the Blind album cover 4.33 | 6 ratings
Soundtracks for the Blind
Non-Metal 1996
SWANS My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky album cover 3.83 | 3 ratings
My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky
Non-Metal 2010
SWANS The Seer album cover 4.80 | 6 ratings
The Seer
Non-Metal 2012
SWANS To Be Kind album cover 3.82 | 7 ratings
To Be Kind
Non-Metal 2014
SWANS The Glowing Man album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
The Glowing Man
Non-Metal 2016
SWANS Leaving Meaning album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Leaving Meaning
Non-Metal 2019

SWANS EPs & splits

SWANS Swans album cover 3.92 | 2 ratings
Metal Related 1982
SWANS Young God album cover 3.33 | 2 ratings
Young God
Metal Related 1984
SWANS Die Tür ist zu album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Die Tür ist zu
Non-Metal 1996

SWANS live albums

SWANS Public Castration Is a Good Idea album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Public Castration Is a Good Idea
Non-Metal 1986
SWANS Feel Good Now album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Feel Good Now
Non-Metal 1987
SWANS Anonymous Bodies in an Empty Room album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Anonymous Bodies in an Empty Room
Non-Metal 1990
SWANS Real Love album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Real Love
Non-Metal 1992
SWANS Omniscience album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Non-Metal 1992
SWANS Kill the Child: 1985/1986/1987 Live album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Kill the Child: 1985/1986/1987 Live
Non-Metal 1995
SWANS Swans Are Dead album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Swans Are Dead
Non-Metal 1998

SWANS demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

SWANS re-issues & compilations

SWANS Various Failures 1988-1992 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Various Failures 1988-1992
Non-Metal 1999
SWANS Forever Burned album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Forever Burned
Non-Metal 2003

SWANS singles (10)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Time Is Money (Bastard)
Non-Metal 1986
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
A Screw
Non-Metal 1986
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
New Mind
Non-Metal 1987
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Love Will Tear Us Apart
Non-Metal 1988
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Can't Find My Way Home
Non-Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Non-Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Love of Life / Amnesia
Non-Metal 1992
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Celebrity Lifestyle
Non-Metal 1994
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Failure / Animus
Non-Metal 1996
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Am the Sun
Non-Metal 1997

SWANS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

SWANS Reviews

SWANS Young God

EP · 1984 · Metal Related
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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.


Album · 1984 · Metal Related
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siLLy puPPy
While many will claim that the 80s were one of the worst decades for music but i must disagree wholeheartedly since some of the most original thinking musical entities emerged from this period. On the aggressive side of the musical equation, the punk and metal that had been gaining steam in the late 70s and early 80s really took off during this period. While punk and post-punk had splintered into a gazillion subgenera, metal on the other hand was only starting to see the potential of different styles emerging from the hard rock that had developed it a decade before. Out of all this craziness came SWANS whose unique style to this day is unclassifiable as they exist in their own musical universe but was even more the case in their beginning days. This NYC band led by Michael Gira existed in a strange gray area between punk and metal although they were technically part of the short-lived no wave noise rock movement.

Their debut album “Filth” set the tone for their abrasive unrelenting assault on melody with undulating waves of distorted noise grinding in a jarring rhythmical fashion like a thousand jackhammers pounding the city streets in unison and only slightly deviating from each other until a true cacophonous din results. On their second album COP, the band of four continues this aggressive assault and takes it even further with even heavier bombastic drum and bass beats accompanied by screeching downtuned and dissonant guitar riffs along with Gira’s tortured soul vocalizations that preceded the world of black and death metal by several years. It’s no wonder that early SWANS have been cited as one of the major influences for the heavy down and dirty approach of sludge metal because the thick guitar riffs that buzz to infinity create one of the loudest albums of the early 80s as if the band recorded this in a deep industrial bunker in the darkest recesses of the cockroach filled underbellies of a post-apocalyptic world.

While many comparisons have been made with doom metal and i can honestly see those connections, i find COP is more of a unique fusion of snarling punk attitudinal posturing with heavily cranked up adrenaline inducing distortion from the guitar and bass akin to the early extreme metal of Venom and Hellhammer with a bombastic drone-like march of a souless percussive drive that hypnotizes by sheer brutal force. Part of the allure is the ambiguousness of the subject matter at hand with lyrics flirting with scenes of sexual domination in unseen corners in dimly lit dungeons. The tempo on COP is much slower than “Filth” which adds a sense of valium laden dread to the abrasiveness of the fuzzed out guitar tones grinding the eardrums into audio submission like the morbidly obese woman on the cover depicts in utter despair. COP took the art of ugliness to perfect heights as the holy trinity of audio, visual and emotional impact impaled the listener from all angles.

COP is almost universally deemed SWANS’ most brutal album and i doubt anyone could disagree once encountering this seductively repulsive sonic terror. If the guitar dissonance and vocal anguish wasn’t enough, the drum and bass experience a hypnotic repertoire that is jagged with off-kilter time signatures that succeed in disrupting melodic flow in every way possible. Both “Filth” and “Cop” as well as the two EPs of the same era are cited as a major influence on bands like Godflesh, The Young Gods and the 90s sludge gods Neurosis with an almost tribal rhythmic drive gone horribly wrong into arhythmic sado-masochistic sonic torture sessions. This is not one for the faint-hearted by any means. After this album, Gira would incorporate the feminine charm of Jarboe to the band’s sound which would change the band’s style and sound drastically. However on COP, these guys pumped out one of the most monstrous and tenebrous death marches of all the early 80s. While bleak, this stuff is morbidly beautiful in its own way as it creates its own musical lexicon.

SWANS Omniscience

Live album · 1992 · Non-Metal
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The most melodic and accessible phase of Swans' discography came to a close with Omniscience, and whilst White Light From the Mouth of Infinity and Love of Life have seen recent reissues it seems like Omniscience must stay out in the cold a little longer. That's a shame, because whilst I wouldn't call it essential Swans, it's an intriguing live journey into a musical realm that is suggested in part by those studio albums and the Burning World, and in part by the various Skin/World of Skin side project albums, ant yet not quite reached by any of them - a piece of the puzzle which stands by itself and has its own contribution to make.

SWANS The Glowing Man

Album · 2016 · Non-Metal
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A solid followup to To Be Kind, and a substantial improvement on it. Swans' post-rock sound here remains strongly influenced by other artists in this realm - substantial sections of The Cloud of Unknowing in particular make me think of this incarnation of the group as Godspeed You Black Swans! - but the musical twists and turns into other styles feel better judged and the material is less padded out. At points they go to places you never expected to visit with Swans; in particular, at one point The World Looks Red/The World Looks Back shifts gears and starts sounding booty-shakingly funky, but it somehow works within the wider context of the composition.


Album · 1983 · Metal Related
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With Jonathan Kane and Roli Mosimann's duelling percussion creating the impression of an angry heroin-addicted trash can stomping down the street intent on mugging you, the Swans' debut album is as pure an expression of their early No Wave sound as you could expect to find. Though subsequent releases like Cop can become introverted and impenetrable, the sound of Filth hooks you instantly with its raw ugliness; far from being indirect or oblique, it comes at you straight and true and confronts you with a hideous musical vision.

Whilst heavier albums in terms of sheer downtuned riffage have emerged over the years, few releases have ever felt so misanthropic and violent. I am fairly sure nobody was bloodily beaten to death during the recording of this album, but if they were I'm not sure it would change the sound appreciably.

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Sheavy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Bah, this is discography is a cake walk compared to how long it will take for me to get all of Agathocles discog put up. http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Agathocles/2649
Gi wrote:
more than 2 years ago
v That's the worst part.
more than 2 years ago
And I can't even rate all the albums 5* :C
more than 2 years ago
Impressive :-)
more than 2 years ago
What a chore this was


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