Words by Wes Foster.
Beginning in the 1980s, Swans have become known for their industrial, no wave and post-punk sound, characterised by their slow and decisive drum patterns, as well as the dynamic way the music is full of differing and almost competing layers. No other band has such an absolutely black and pressingly empty sound. Empty in a brilliant way though – they are like nothing else.
Two drummers adorn the back of the stage, creating a rhythm section which is constantly rivalling itself, and grants such suspense and size to the music that otherwise would never be available.
Swans are not an easy listen, they have been credited with some of the darkest albums around and, although their latest work has softened a little, fitting more closely to post-rock, they still have the largesse of sound that they always had, and an ability to write songs that aren’t exactly song-like.
Whilst their work has always had beauty, their older recordings perhaps had this trumped by aggression, whereas their newest work hasn’t calmed down. It seems more focused and refined, with much more self-reflection to it.
Swans play at The Ritz on Sunday 9 October, 2016.
Tickets are available here.