Michael Gira
Drainland


4.0
excellent

Review

by Michael Snoxall USER (47 Reviews)
August 10th, 2012 | 12 replies


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: When the world weighs down upon your shoulders and you can't possibly find any strength.

Now some of us are weak, and some endure. Some people live their lives with a violence that’s pure and clean. But I saw a man cry once, down on his knees in a corner of a darkened cell, and his pain meant nothing to me. But I was younger then, young men never die, and I walked out in the sun. I was strong, clear-minded and blind.

Music is an aesthetic and driving force that can be wrought from the depths of any being. It holds no boundaries and it houses no deceptions. In its purest form, music fills the void in the world between hope and despair. What a person has to say, what they’re about, how they’re feeling and what they need to express can be heard through the music they create. Drainland is a dismal journey through the psyche of Michael Gira. A brutally honest, confronting album, the subject matter explored and the haunting melodies brought forth on Drainland are enough to enthrall any listener.

Shut up. Figure it out yourself. It’s not my problem.

Subtle droning growing and dissolving, solemn acoustic picking and dissonance; Gira’s poignant vocal work is an integral instrument for the album as a whole. At times he croons, slurs and almost speaks his words. Sometimes saying much with little; You see through me.

Do you even love me at all, Michael?

Disturbing the listener with horrifically detailed imagery and lyrics: I see them sucking on the dirt, as if inhaling the whole world. And one by one, their throats are cut and each one sings his choking song. And each one sings his lullaby. And each one falls and then he’s gone. I feel good, yeah I feel fine.
Thick, pacing industrial pounding bringing an uncomfortable and perturbing atmosphere, almost dragging you into it. Menacing in the way he delivers his words, Gira shocks you just by opening his mouth and letting him unleash upon you his old leather ridden voice, hoarse and tense under his draining compositions.

Through it all, it is ambiance and painful melody. Taken and dragged into a sick cave of enclosing and reflective rocky walls. The sounds can be labeled a thousand things, but one word that comes to mind and sticks: Heavy. Not heavy in the generic sense of the word when describing music, no, but heavy as though it weighs down upon you like a thick sludge of pus upon your shoulders.

At times, the music can sound, not upbeat, but almost...hopeful. Like there’s some sense that it can find its way out of the hole it created for itself, like it can crawl back through the mess and the muck it walls around itself and the listener. But I feel that as a whole, the album is directionless. I don’t mean that as a negative thing, the album is directionless in the sense that it is not striving towards sanity or even hope, it is just a guided tour to nowhere and the depths of depravity.

I’m subtracting the air from my lungs, so someone will breathe in me.

Perhaps the darkest place this album finds itself is with the closing track, ‘Blind.’ This track gives off a deceptively warm feeling, like a warm breeze after all that was heard before, but it brings possibly the most sorrowful story.

I am blind.

Utterly scary at times, this record wasn’t designed to shock or scare, but this just feels like an insight into Gira. Not a record for the faint of heart, go into this with an open mind and let it enrapt you. Fall for its vicious pain and honesty and feel how utterly large this feels, yet cramped and boxed in and claustrophobic.

Now show some pity for the weak of will, because when we’re drinking we can never be filled. Show some understanding for the lonely fool, because when I am drinking I am out of control. I was never young. Nothing has transpired and when I look in the mirror, I feel dead, I feel cold. I am blind.



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user ratings (13)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
MichaelSnoxall
August 10th 2012


12163 Comments


Kind of an experimental review. Anyways, Gira's solo work is criminally neglected on the site. Thought this needed to be reviewed.

Check out here (this song is not representative of the whole album): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaAyZh9zg1c

Rikardur
August 10th 2012


731 Comments


Good review. I agree that this album doesn't get enough love. Blind is one of Gira's best and You See
Through Me always gets me with its sheer force of honesty.

The man remains one of my most respected musicians, one I go out of my way to monetarily support.

Maniac!
August 10th 2012


26250 Comments


Good on you for trying something different.

MichaelSnoxall
August 10th 2012


12163 Comments


You See Through Me and Blind are absolutely perfect as opener and closer. Both really heavy songs.

ILJ
August 10th 2012


6720 Comments


Damn son, this is a fantastic review. I was not aware of this existing. Definitely want it after reading this.

On another note, am I the only one that thinks The Seer is AOTY?

Digging: Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2

Rikardur
August 10th 2012


731 Comments


No you are not, ILJAJLJFAJSDSAM.

CaptainDooRight
August 10th 2012


30048 Comments


Interesting review bro. Interesting structure. Pos.

I'm listening to this right now. Sounds awesome so far. I'm def getting this. And yes The Seer owns.

Digging: Fleurety - Min Tid Skal Komme

CaptainDooRight
August 10th 2012


30048 Comments


This is random, I could see myself enjoying this with a little greens.

MichaelSnoxall
August 10th 2012


12163 Comments


Thanks guys. And yeah, the Seer is fantastic. I can't wait to hear the mastered version!

ThyCrossAwaits
August 10th 2012


3056 Comments


Honestly the disclaimer at the top that says "Swans-related project" is the funniest thing I've seen all day.

Digging: Dead Raven Choir - My Firstborn Will Surely Be Blind

MichaelSnoxall
August 11th 2012


12163 Comments


I thought it was kind of humourous.

Brabiz
May 31st 2014


275 Comments


The album art is horrifying. I adore Swans, and Michael's other stuff, so i'll have to check this out



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