Beautiful Child - Swans - Children Of God (Cassette, Album)
Not only did I embrace this album, I drifted into non-metal music that retained a gloomy aura and subsequently even branched out into delicate music in general as well as other forms of rock that I had ditched for a few years. Floyd became relevant again, and while I never stopped listening to metal Outside of my own personal growth, the merits of this album may be a little off-putting for some, but the creative aspects involved in this recording shouldn't be denied.
Gira based his boisterous vocals on Southern preachers and the effects these fire and brimstone preaching types held over their congregation, and he pulls it off with aplomb, matched by Jarboe's unnerving vibrato.
Equal parts venomous and tranquil, Children Of God remains my favorite album of there's, and while each tune carries a sort of pin-pointed impact, as a whole this album captures a lot of emotions and atmosphere that very few have equaled in my own experience while growing up in the 80's, and it resonates strongly still whenever I feel the urge for the primal currents of power, fear, glory and destitution that surge throughout this opus.
Whether it's essential or not is your decision, but to me it's a masterpiece regardless of whatever terminology of "progressive" one chooses to utilize. There is still a lot of loud guitar, but it's not dirty and Album) like the first albums.
But it is till heavy, that is, when it is heavy. Now the Swans are branching out to explore other things. Swans is music in the extreme, previously loud, hard and heavy, but now that wall of sound is breaking up a lot, the lyrics are a lot more understandable, but they are still just as dark.
Never has the label extreme music been evident as much though as on this album. The first track is on the heavy, loud and metallic like you would expect, but the 2nd track sung by Jarboe is on the extreme soft side.
I wouldn't call it minimalistic, but it's like a completely different world, except for the lyrics which remain dark. This contrast continues through the album, with Michael Gira mostly leading the loud tracks while Jarboe leads the softer tracks.
If you haven't heard Gira's voice, imagine a voice as deep and dark as the lead singer from Bauhaus and then go down about 5 notches. We're talking "John Wayne" deep. So his singing is really without much of a melody. But it works here. Jarboe however, is more dynamic and has quite an impressive range, though she typically on this album stays within the same range within a song. I was actually surprised at how low her register can go as in the song "Blood and Honey". In the past, the instruments were quite repetitive, churning out heavy riffs at extreme volume.
I find in this release, the instruments are still repetitive, but now that the wall of noise is broken down, you can hear the band experimenting with new sounds and new timbres. On this album, you get surprise appearances of a flute, an oboe, a harmonica, strings and you also get background vocals. Even though this all makes the album sound more accessible than their earlier albums, believe me, it's not.
This is dark music and it is still extreme, just not as loud as before. To appreciate the music here, you have to make a commitment to listen. This album is all about contrast, the contrast of good and evil, or maybe, there isn't really a contrast at all. Jarboe however, is more dynamic and has quite an impressive range, though she typically on this album stays within the same range within a song.
I was actually surprised at how low her register can go as in the song "Blood and Honey". In the past, the instruments were quite repetitive, churning out heavy riffs at extreme volume. I find in this release, the instruments are still repetitive, but now that the wall of noise is broken down, you can hear the band experimenting with new sounds and new timbres.
On this album, you get surprise appearances of a flute, an oboe, a harmonica, strings and you also get background vocals. Even though this all makes the album sound more accessible than their earlier albums, believe me, it's not. This is dark music and it is still extreme, just not as loud as before. To appreciate the music here, you have to make a commitment to listen.
This album is all about contrast, the Album) of good and evil, or maybe, there isn't really a contrast at all. You have to listen to get the nuances of this music, the brilliance of it and this appreciation doesn't just come on one listen.
It takes time. But it is good and it is progressive and it is original. Are you ready for it? This is not your mother's prog and she is not going to save you once you click the "play" button. This is one of the landmark Swan albums, and remember there just wasn't anything out there that was like this when it came out, especially in alternative music.
I have to go with 5 stars on this, but that doesn't mean it is for everybody, so be warned. New Mind opens the album by displaying the maturation of Swans' sound, by having it sonically very similar to past albums, with heavy, filthy industrial beats that continuously hammer their way into your head, but this time with a more powerful feel to it, due to the presence of keyboards in the background providing a much more grandiose feel, while still having the crushing drums as the main focus.
I also love the vocal performance here, with the first time I heard Gira gradually raise the volume and intensity of the phrase "Damn you to hell" with each repetition being absolutely mind blowing to me. After the crushingly heavy opener, the album then completely shifts gears and brings forth the haunting beauty of In My Garden, which is the antithesis to New Mind in many ways, having the same sort of structure of simple repetition, but instead using acoustic guitars and pianos, creating a sense of isolation heightened by the ethereal vocals of Jarboe.
This works extremely well as the followup to one of the most intense pieces of music on the album, along with creating an extreme unpredicability in the album that is maintained throughout. Our Love Lies begins to establish one of the constants on the album, the Album) tinge to the songs, most clear in the form of the backing vocals. This fairly pretty song in its own twisted way then transitions into Sex God Sex, which has a similar riff, but with the heavy drums and electric guitars coming in at full force, with a strong focus on the extremely sludgy roots of the band, complete with a vocal performance that sounds utterly exhausted, strained, and defeated, especially noticeable when Gira sounds as if he's shouting out to the heavens, not in anger, but in utter desparation.
Blood and Honey is one of the more impressive songs on the album, having a certain eeriness to it, along with sounding slightly like a precursor to the opening section of She Loves Us. Jarboe's vocals go far lower than I expected here, matching the sort of unsettling tone that Gira's voice provides.
Like A Drug Sha La La is another Album) track, showing off the more unhinged, insane side of the band, with a heavy, rhythmic riff consisting of a single note, as abrasive brass blares in Album) background, complete with an abolutely wild chorus.
You're Not Real, Girl is a melancholy song that while not having quite the same impact as some other songs, is nonetheless great. Beautiful Child is by far my absolute favourite song on the album and one of my favourites by the band in general. Children of God Review by Ned Raggett. Track Listing. New Mind. In My Garden. Our Love Lies.
Sex, God, Sex. Blood and Honey. Like a Drug Sha la la la. You're Not Real, Girl. Beautiful Child. Trust Me. Real Love. Blind Love.
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