Apostate”—have epic durations, eclipsing 74 minutes when combined. They are, simply, a realm unto themselves. Because Gira prefers to work by instinct and “let mistakes happen,” to create a “thread that leads to something new,” he has created progressive movements of sound, traveling through ideas that gather around Thor Harris and Phil Puelo’s steadfast percussion. Condensing melodic and rhythmic hints, the shorter songs serve to highlight and develop themes that are found in the longer pieces. The vibrant, interchanging sounds of “The Seer” coalesce in the haunting twostep of “The Seer Returns,” and “93 Ave. B Blues” comes on like a Tibetan Bon exorcism ritual, horns and chanting wails purging the psyche of unwanted influences. Throughout the double album, the music moves between evocation and exorcism, as melodies create visions that are reassembled and broken down through walls of rhythm and discordance. In his press notes, Gira states that The Seer is just “one frame in a reel” and that the band’s fall tours already contain a number of new, unrecorded pieces. As a result, concertgoers will continue to experience Swans as a living entity—one whose newest work already is a luminescent highlight in its extensive and diverse discography. –David Metcalfe
ALBUM PROFILES 3 of 5
JUDGEMENT DAY Polar Shift (Minus Head)
rmed with simply a violin, cello, and drum kit, Judgement Day began its existence with one goal in mind: to make metal and other types of nontraditional rock music using unconventional instruments.
The trio, comprised of brothers Anton (violin) and Lewis Patzner (cello) and drummer Jon Bush, actually got its start in performing acoustically on the street. As its heavy-metal ambitions came into focus, however, the band’s sound was modified by electricity,
effects, and experimentation. Peacocks / Pink Monsters, Judgement Day’s last full-length, exemplified the band’s far-reaching capabilities. Polar Shift, meanwhile, is just that—a step in the opposite direction, abandoning all bells and whistles and embracing raw, organic sounds. “We just thought that for at least one record,” Anton says, “it would be cool to show people exactly what we’re doing. It’s totally out, honest, and in the open.”