Swans
Filth


5.0
classic

Review

by King Buzzo USER (2 Reviews)
July 5th, 2005 | 246 replies


Release Date: 1983 | Tracklist


A terrible wind blows through a disease-ridden city and its inhabitants cry out with anger and pain. This is sickness. This is a plague. This is a festering, decomposing body. This is Filth. This is not an album but a musical world, and one in which one must immerse oneself in and once inside will be brought down to its disgusting, depressing level (and cannot leave)

Micheal Gira howls like a leper over discordant noise and feeling. Jonathon Kane contrasts his painful vocals with stark and functional drumming. To comment on any specific song would be frivolous as one cannot listen to specifics. You must experience this as a whole, just as any illness is experienced. Lived in, and persevered to the end.

Nowhere in Filth is there any sign of recovery or a light at the end of a pitch-black tunnel. There is only impenetrable noise and audible terror.
At first this noise seems inhuman but as you delve further and further it seems that these monstrous sounds are people at their most vulnerable and visceral. Gira is baring his soul and never before or since have I heard such an admission of raw and intense feeling through the medium of music. And when the nightmare is over one finds oneself in a euphoric state; you have left this death-town but in the back of your mind you know that you must sleep again.

To me this is a bold and unmitigated statement of individuality and originality and came at a time when these qualities were, and indeed still are, reviled and rejected by record companies and by popular opinion. It begs comparisons to bands such as The Velvet Underground (In particular their debut) as they have both started their musical careers with uncompromsing and often brutally punishing music. The Velvets, in their time were almost completely ignored and it is only in the last decade that they have shown to be the most important band of their time in terms of influence. This story ties in nicely with that of Swans. I myself can see the obvious influences that this record (and its follow up "Cop") has had on contemporary Avante-Garde bands such as Godspeed! you black Emperor, Neurosis and Godflesh (now Jesu). These records come along only every twenty or so years and change all previous preconceptions about what music can achieve. Although the schism felt through the underground scene post Filth has brought the world of Avant-Garde music forward through the aforementioned bands (to name a few) the record today sounds as repulsive as it did back then. That is why it is important.


user ratings (450)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Justin Swope (4)
This malicious debut album is a distinct form of industrial music, pummeling the ears with brutality...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Arrakakaka
July 5th 2005


685 Comments


The review sounded like a kickass intro paragraph. You could have described more of the songs and such.

masada
July 5th 2005


2733 Comments


Actually, this describes the music rather well. Just because he/she didn't state any specific songs, doesn't mean that they don't sound like it. Yeah, it could use just a little bit more work, but I actually like it the way it is.

King Buzzo
July 6th 2005


15 Comments


thanks, and the reason I have rated all my reviews thus far 5 stars is because I am at this point, simply reviewing my favourite albums.

King Buzzo
July 7th 2005


15 Comments


Did The Velvet Underground appeal at the time to anyone but hard-core avant gardeners?

King Buzzo
August 12th 2005


15 Comments


OK, i'll answer that for you: no they didn't. And do they now? Just in case you don't know that i'll answer it for you too: Yes they do.

Kage
November 26th 2005


1172 Comments


I thought this was a great review. Just because it wasn't the standard, "Now a bassline comes in. It's cool. Now he starts screaming," doesn't mean it wasn't in depth. It was nice and wel well-written, and gave me a good idea of what to expect.

masada
November 26th 2005


2733 Comments


Swana are/were a disturbing band, but I haven't been lucky enough to come across any of their albums.

Jawaharal
November 26th 2005


1832 Comments


I have this album somewhere, can't remember if its any good or not.

Dancin' Man
November 26th 2005


719 Comments


One of the few Swans albums I haven't heard.

Jawaharal
November 26th 2005


1832 Comments


l00zer, its their best. I think. Can't remember.This Message Edited On 11.26.05

AlienEater
April 23rd 2006


716 Comments


Swans rule. Cop is so good.

Insignificant
August 1st 2007


7 Comments


In my opinion far from the best Swans album, but still intriguing.

You know, most people say that early Swans is totally amelodic. Not at all, in my opinion: The melodies are simply very distorted and repetitious, producing more rhythm and ambience than tune.

Cravinov13
August 1st 2007


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^^ agreed

Kehl
July 2nd 2008


21 Comments


Swans don't get nearly enough love here. Everyone is too busy with their Black Opeth Metal, and Post-This and Post-That.

samariah
July 4th 2008


109 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

listen to this band.

StickmanSouffle
July 24th 2009


286 Comments


i thought this kinda gay upon first listen but 5 or 6 listens on dfajkjhkajf;lkaf

this is really, really awesome

Meatplow
July 24th 2009


5524 Comments


Indeed, this album is great. I should listen to it more.

Essence
July 24th 2009


3585 Comments


Wow, this album has an awesome vibe.

StickmanSouffle
December 14th 2009


286 Comments


album still pains me

but it pains so good

bab808
August 25th 2010


456 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is the only swans album i've listened through entirely. Didn't get it the first time, but after that i slept on it, woke up and listened to it 3 times through. I can't stop listening to it. What should I listen to next?



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