Review Summary: The aural equivalent of an ass-kicking.
The music of Swans' early period has been said to be "really like little else on the planet before or since" by Allmusic reviewer Ned Ragett, and the statement is truer than you might think. Nothing perhaps better personifies this uniqueness than their 1984 album Cop
takes the crushing brutality of Filth
and takes it into overdrive. The songs here are slower, sludgier, heavier and dirtier than anything they had done previously, and it packs a ***ing whallop. Listening to Cop
is much like the aural equivalent of kicking someone's ass and having your ass kicked at the same time; it is a primal, satisfying experience, but it can also be an intensely painful one.
The switch from the faster tempos of Filth
to the slower, sludgier ones found here is demonstrated quite well by the first track, "Half Life," and Cop
only gets better from there. Songs like "Why Hide," "Your Property," and "Cop" are among the most primal, savage recordings the band ever made, and they paint a portrait of a dark, hopeless, and grueling industrial world where you
are the slave and he
is your master. You will submit, goddammit, or die trying.
is one intense and fulfilling experience of an album. It has been called "one of the most brutal albums ever made" by some, and they are not lying. This is the human psyche at its most raw, disturbing, and violent, and consequently, in some twisted up sort of way, its most beautiful. If you haven't heard anything from Swans' early period yet, you're doing yourself a disservice.