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Pure "SWANCORE" -!RaNkEd!- perfect ♦ classics. [S-TIER]

Here are the top swancore albums that show more emotional sincerity than any others, lyrically. They are at the very least the most talented musicianally with swanning guitarist techniques. List is ranked best to worst, from 1-10. RECOMMENDATIONS WILL BE POSTED AT THE END. I've listened to all recommendations and provide examples of swancore qualifiers, and rate them subjectively to my taste at the end.
1Dance Gavin Dance
Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean

Easily the most influential artist of the past decade, in and out of the swancore movement, but especially when it comes to forwarding the swancore movement. Not only are they pioneers, they are the godfathers. They are the legends. According to Swancore Monthly, they are listed as the top artist for 10 years straight, broken by Bjork in 2013, and they have been top artist since.
2Royal Coda

Every Royal Coda album is a perfect swancore experience, with the most influential being "Compassion." All guitar riffs are played full-necked, with perfect feather-plucking on the strings. Swancore defined, arguably more swancore than the godfathers of swancore, DGD.
In Rainbows

Back when Radiohead released this album for free on Facebook in the summer of 2001, Radiohead was just getting off their feet. Thom Yorke was an emerging solo artist in the previous year and wasn't receiving critical acclaim, so he joined with his live backup band to flesh out a sound, and together they created a complete swancore experience. Swanning guitar techniques are unparalleled, but the lyrical subject matter falls astray a bit.
4Protest the Hero
A Calculated Use of Sound

No one can argue that PtH doesn't swan faster down the neck of the guitar than any other band, and in Swan Hearting style. I've seen a plethora of live YouTube videos showing the hard swanning LIVE ON SET. You can almost see the necks of their dual guitaring come together in a perfect Swan Heart.
Petitioning the Empty Sky

Obligatory inclusion, obviously. Converge has been noted to have the highest IQ of all swancore bands[1] which they have used in their favor. They've historically broken down the swanning tremelos, and mapped them to the shape of the cosmos, plotting each string to a star. Lead singer Jacob Bannon has been quoted saying he "actually look[s] at the stars to play a few [of his] complicated songs,"[2] which is why he only plays them live at night outdoor festivals. The complexity of the songs rivals the complexity of the swanning guitar movements.

[1] statistic from Swancore Monthly 1998 March Edition
[2] Swancore Monthly 1998 May Edition
6The Dillinger Escape Plan
Calculating Infinity

A contender for some of the best swancore and swanning technique, The DEP have created quite the unique subgenre of swancore known as mathswancore (clever, I know *eyeroll*). You can hear the complexity in their timing as they swan top to bottom in changing times. They swan from riff to riff in a floating complexity that blends unlike any other band.
Swans Are Dead

Back in 1989, The Swans began their music career as a try-hard swancore band, emulating Dance Gavin Dance in every way. Since then they have improved greatly and have helped bring swancore more of a legitimate movement. The lyrical themes are emotional, like is typical for a swancore band, but they've also themed themselves as swanning, in solidarity to the genre, as well as for complete credibility.
8Dance Gavin Dance
Downtown Battle Mountain

This album is often credited with coining the term swancore. The influence of this album in particular is unrivaled, even compared to #1 on this list. The only reason this comes in at number 8 is because of the battle scene at the end of the album, where many of the feather pluckings are two-to-three note and don't sweep the full neck. Take out those songs, and release this as an EP, and swancore would have been changed forever.

The heavy, brutal swanning of the guitar here is enough to give any swancore artist a run for their money. LEMOLO is legendary in her method of slowing down the swan style. While at first it might seem easy to sweep down the neck of the guitar in throbcore style at 1/10 speed, the attention to rhythm is actually regarded as one of the most difficult playstyles of swancore, second only to Swan Hearting. It should also be noted that LEMOLO is a one-person band, and she plays all the instruments herself. She records drum loops live before hopping on the rest of the instruments, and then crooning out her vocals. The 1/10 speed allows her to feather-pluck from one guitar to another.

Classic, for sure. Not really an album, but it's fully realized in every shape. Especially the shape of the neck of the guitars. This swans for hours, even with a 13-min play length. Internationally, this is one of the most accessible and popular swancore albums.
11Boards of Canada

rec by justjoe.

Whole discog, but just putting on the one maxi-single with tightest swancore lyrics.

bloodshy's rating: 4/5
Silent Waters

rec by avagantamos

Not very swancore playstyle in genreform, but lyrically tight swancore. They've been known to bring swans to their live shows in support of the genre, but stopped doing that since the coronavirus hit in Novemeber 2020. The bassist has a pond in his backyard in Kentucky that has a few pet swans, as well as some wild swans that return each year. The cover art for most of their albums shows a swan, which obvious is not swancore, but signifies their love of the genre.

bloodshy's rating: 4.5/5
13The Beatles
Yellow Submarine

rec by sixdegrees

The Beatles are widely regarded as the most successful time travelers in musicianship. They've collected hundreds of swan songs from the future and have returned to the 1960's to play them worse. Nevertheless, they do play swancore in every sense, and the songs they stole are legit. Like really fucking good. If you've ever heard the original Eleanor Rigby from The Carristeins in 2046, you'll know how influential it was, or would have been to the 2050's swancore movement. The Beatles play these songs more throbcore stylistically, but the songs obviously still retain the great lyrical swanning.

bloodshy's rating: 3/5

rec by porcupinetheater (i can't believe i forgot this album)

Personifying her style with a swan dress in pure advocation of the genre, Bjork blazes a trail and holds stength in swancore. She has been doing this for thirty years, arguably longer than Dance Gavin Dance.

bloodshy's rating: 4.5/5
New Album

rec by johnnyofthewell

Boris is the only swancore band in history to perform live a Broken Swan Heart. Broken Swan Hearting was theorized by Converge in 1999[1] but was widely controversial as most swancore artists claimed it to be impossible. Fans in the crowd claimed bursts of rainbows formed around the three guitars, like garden hose mist.[2] The drummer was said to have dropped his sticks and pick up the acoustic guitar the security guard was holding, ran to the front of the stage and executed flawlessly at the edge of the stage. Reportedly, it was his first time playing guitar.[3]

[1]Swancore Digest 1999/01/05
[2][3]Japanese Swancore Monthly 2007 October Special Edition

bloodshy's rating: 4/5
Nothing Hides Under the Sun

rec by deathconcious

Brand-spanking-new swancore from Primo! This album riffs a bit off of LEMOLO's stylings, playing at close to 1/8 throbspeed. Very impressive stuff. We'll see how the swans take to this one.

bloodshy's rating: 3.5/5
The Argument

rec by calc

Less swan than most, but at the core of the band, they bleed swancore. Influences for the band range from Dance Gavin Dance to Bjork to Dillinger Escape Plan, all of the best swancore artists. While Fugazi play an offshoot of swancore known as indie-swan, the style is still easily accessible by any core fan, and the album The Argument has been lauded by major review sites* as "a premium innovation from formerly indie-jazz artist Fugazi."[1]

*Swancore Monthly
[1]Swancore Monthly 2002 February Edition

bloodshy's rating: 4.2/5
Fluorescent Youth

rec by onionbubs

Sometimes considered saocore, Fluorescent Youth is a true breath of fresh air. You can literally hear the feathers plucking as Alex Howard undresses the neck of the lead guitars. Lead vocalist Brandon Roundtree represents his old swancore band Scarlet well here, with tight screams reminiscent of earlier throbcore swanning. A must-listen for any feather-plucking enthusiast.

bloodshy's rating: 4/5
19Exotic Animal Petting Zoo
I Have Made My Bed in Darkness

rec by muppelope

While not swancore through the entire album, EAPZ clearly weave in and out of swancore moments. It's incredible how they are able to incorporate so perfectly the swanning of the guitar with the tiger striping of the bass, the monkey wrenching of the keyboardist, and the ethereal hummingbird hums from vocalist Brandon Carr. If you ever get the chance to see them live, I highly recommend it.

bloodshy's rating: 4.6/5
20At the Drive-In
Relationship of Command

rec by widowslaugh123

Though this album is widely considered a classic on the Internet scene, most listeners still don't realize this band is actually swancore. If you pay attention to the guitar sweeps, they're actually swan-necked. Go re-listen if you don't believe me. Vocalist Cedric is so into the scene, that he actually refused to play a live show in Guatemala when band Swans was scheduled to also take the stage after them. "Ain't playing with no mother fucker Swan-be-soft try-hardests for no shit like why even...," Cedric told reporters[1] before trailing off into an incoherent rant. At The Drive In returned later to the Guatemalan venue as part of their apology tour, where they did shows for free in all the towns where they had trashed their hotel rooms.

[1]Swancore Digest 2009/1/3

bloodshy's rating: 4.5/5
21Kazumoto Endo
While You Were Out

rec by parksandjunk

Accidentally swancore, by self admittance, While You Were Out is a one-off from Kazumoto Endo, encompassing everything that is swancore, without even trying to. In an attempt to make a noise album, Kazumoto by chance mimicked sounds of a guitar, then stretched the sound samples in such a way that perfectly resembles traditional long-necking. The faux-sweeps are electronically plucked, so there's no emotional aspect to the playstyle, but the genresounding still resembles the full emotional output of classic swancore. Will Kazumoto Endo ever release another swancore album? Doubtful, but there's always hope.

bloodshy's rating: 1.5/5
Swans EP

rec by mordecai.

Underground MySpace swancore with a penchant for breaking guitars. When they emerged in 2010, they swanned their way into bankruptcy, defaulting on their tour loan, which then had to be canceled midway through. They didn't release any more music because they couldn't afford new instruments.

bloodshy's rating: 3.5/5
23The Fall of Troy

rec by coldheaven

Fairly new to the scene, but considered swancore by some, The Fall of Try really punch hard on Doppelganger. The guitarwork is great, but lacks some neck spread for the genre. Their fan base in YouTube comments says they appreciate how they're not too swanny, just a bit. Like "sipping a weak tea."[1]

[1]YouTube commenter Swanning4LifeCore

bloodshy's rating: 4/5
Royal Swan

rec by bloodshy from the future

Though not released yet, I have high expectations for this release. Phoxjaw have released two EP's in previous years worthy of swanfan approval. Do yourself a favor and listen to single "Half House," on YouTube from the upcoming album... Can't wait for this swan droppage.

Whatever Phoxjaw says is Royal Swan.

bloodshy's future rating: 5/5
Pornographic Seizures

rec by botb

The album name, Pornographic Seizures, conjures up imagery of chaotic grind sounds and heavy beatdowns, but what we actually find here is textbook throbcore-playstyle swancore. The genresounding is identical to what you'd find in any Dance Gavin Dance album (besides DGD's iconic breakaway battle scene), and the croons down the neckline of strings are a throwback to early pre-swan post-hardcore playstyles.. From a lyrical standpoint, Sanguisugabogg swans with the best, in emotional self-reflection and heartfelt guitar wording. Fun fact: Sanguinsugabogg actually summon demons backstage before each show to help them featherpluck more masterfully.

bloodshy's rating: 3.5/5
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