Review Summary: A heavily diverse concoction by Swans filled to the brim with complex layering, astounding production, and ominous undertones.My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
is the culmination of several dark atmospheric rock essentials. The swaying rhythms and mystifying aura are presented with a newfound potency that allows Swans to alternate between their artistically crafted mask of anonymity and forthright delivery of some of the most abrasive, shocking moments you will hear in music. Relentlessly overwhelming in its sound, the album grasps one’s ears and mind alike, leading them into a twisted, blackened skyline on a rope as long as the imagination can fancy.
The perfection achieved almost immediately by “No Worlds/No Thoughts” is a prime indicator of just how high Swans can take you. Although clad with haunting bells, jet engines, and heavy distortion, the song is mostly propelled by its constantly shifting momentum and unrelenting, perpetually heavy percussion. It all makes My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
feel less like a journey to the heavens and more like a slow plummet into the depths of hell.
Fortunately, Swans meet the expectations set by themselves right from the get-go with results that transcend merely admirable
and enter the realms of awe-inspiring, breathtakingly majestic, and downright frightening. From the eerily hummed, bubble-obscured opening of “Little Mouth” to the quiet complacency of “Reeling the Liars In”, there is nary a letdown across the album’s runtime as Swans bombard their listeners with one astonishing moment after another while changing styles and tempos with relative ease.
Perhaps the album’s greatest strength lies within its sheer diversity – and its ability to hone in on all of those extremely varying styles to establish a tangibly cohesive atmosphere. For all of the post-rock rises and falls, valleys and crescendos, inhales and exhales…My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
never even begins
to feel tired and it certainly doesn’t becomes repetitive. The weariness that some listeners feel during the record would be likened to watching a movie so intense that you temporarily lose your bearings, having been swept up in the emotionally traumatic or cathartic scenes that have been brilliantly woven together to have just that effect. Swans’ latest work is no different – it is intense, extremely detailed and intricate, and it allows your mind to run away with itself on more than one occasion.
From one song to the next, My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
is constantly proving its worth. The moody electric guitars, gloomy snyth, and heavy but assorted drumming techniques never come across as labored, despite the oppressive effect they can have. The instrumentals alone can even carry the album on occasion (“Inside Madeline”), with Michael Gira’s vocals only entering the picture when he sees fit. Gira’s deep sound offers up moments of booming authority as well as soothing lullabies, and the unwavering conviction accompanying his delivery is a major reason why the album feels so bold at times. My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
is a just that: a bold
album full of just about everything in Swans’ arsenal to date, and it dares the listener to climb that rope just a little bit more
and discover all of the beauty within this dark, clearly unstable opus.