The Seer - Swans
Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Oct 11, 2012
    100
    Swans has never traveled a straightforward, clean, or uninterrupted path. But with The Seer, one thing is certain: Even during its quietest lulls, Gira has never sounded louder.
  2. Sep 5, 2012
    100
    The Seer is 30 years' worth of effort, a unique and exciting height earned after decades of creation, experimentation and unconventional musical disassembly.
  3. Aug 31, 2012
    100
    The Seer is clearly brilliant, and may even be Swans' finest album yet, three decades in.
  4. Aug 29, 2012
    100
    The Seer delivers on its promise. It's an exhausting and maddening document, but one can't help but emerge from it filled with a renewed radiance.
  5. Aug 28, 2012
    100
    The Seer is the culmination of Gira's 30-year-journey; his finest two hours, if you will.
  6. Aug 28, 2012
    100
    The Seer is everything we could have hoped for--it is Swans, standing proudly and unabashedly at the top of their game after nearly thirty years.
  7. Nov 28, 2012
    90
    The Seer might not be the album you spend most time with this year--it's too emotionally demanding for heavy rotation – but it's one you'll be listening to for years to come.
  8. Sep 7, 2012
    90
    This is a majestic, ambitious record, and the best thing an already incredible band has ever released. The rest is noise.
  9. 90
    This album redefines Swans by gathering the best of its past and re-centering the music on impulse and interplay, built with a preternatural sense of how long to let a section develop before moving on to the next idea
  10. Just be thankful that the new Swans are as clever, as terrifying, and as proficient in their craft as presented on The Seer.
  11. Aug 28, 2012
    90
    If he's not making his most important works of his career, it may well be his best.
  12. Aug 28, 2012
    90
    For 30 years Swans have challenged the boundaries between beauty and ugliness, music and noise, catharsis and abuse.... The Seer is the album that transcends them.
  13. Aug 28, 2012
    90
    One of the most satisfying, a nearly unclassifiable mammoth of sound that manages to weave brutality, atmosphere, and aching melody into a body-enveloping cocoon that sticks around longer than the average Hollywood movie.
  14. Aug 28, 2012
    90
    The Seer is unquestionably a work of ecstatic beauty; it encompasses everything because it is everything.
  15. Sep 13, 2012
    89
    Anchored by three tracks stretching past 19 minutes with only momentary lapses of Western conventionality, The Seer stands as an immense and jarring homage to unpredictability.
  16. Sep 11, 2012
    80
    This is an album that vindicates maturity, long years of toil, cumulative effort, resilience, patience, wisdom.
  17. Aug 30, 2012
    80
    The Seer will definitely raise the band's profile, although its sheer intensity and ugliness may scare people away.
  18. Aug 28, 2012
    80
    This is Swans at their most user-unfriendly and trouser soiling. [Sep 2012, p.94.]
  19. 80
    This album's two-hour stretch may seem offputtingly dense at first, but give them time, and Swans will take you to a place that is beyond good and evil.
  20. Aug 28, 2012
    80
    It's all willfully abrasive, unflinchingly depressing, occasionally tedious, and intermittently triumphant.
  21. Aug 28, 2012
    80
    The Seer won't be for everybody, but deserves to win new converts.
  22. Aug 28, 2012
    80
    A raucous, thrilling beast, a hectic palimpsest of brutal noise and gentle ambience, with dueling sounds caught in an ongoing battle for control.
  23. Their 12th album covers all points from brutality to beauty in pursuit of epiphanies.
  24. Aug 28, 2012
    80
    Somewhere in its utter hugeness, it breaks down barriers between listener and music, between sound and reaction to that sound.
  25. Aug 28, 2012
    76
    The key to The Seer's delicate noise-beauty contrast is its sense of direction. It's what keeps the album's three crazy-long epics (particularly the half-hour-long title-track) from fading into wallpaper or bleeding out from excess.
  26. Aug 28, 2012
    75
    With a firmly established legend behind him, The Seer doesn't serve to endear him to new fans but rather to deepen his already compelling narrative.
  27. Sep 10, 2012
    70
    Born in the New York post-punk squalor that mothered pals Sonic Youth, Swans make their grandest statement yet for their 30th birthday.
  28. Sep 4, 2012
    70
    [The Seer is] everything for which Swans stands, wrapped up in one intense package.
  29. Aug 28, 2012
    70
    It revolves around bleak, squalling repetitions and a mood of wretched abjection. But Gira's voice has weathered grandly. [Sep 2012, p.86]
  30. Aug 28, 2012
    63
    Gira's career has been one of violations and risks; there are plenty here. However, his trademark brand of post-rock/ambient alienation may finally leave listeners indifferent.
  31. 60
    The final impression The Seer left me with is that of a sprawling, lacking in cohesion and over indulgent album that fails as often as it succeeds.
  32. Aug 28, 2012
    60
    It's a bold and stark opus worthy of attention, if your attention span is long enough.
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 88 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 18
  2. Negative: 3 out of 18
  1. Dec 7, 2012
    3
    If albums were supposed to be rated by originality this is a "10". It's like anything I ever heard before. However, I picked this albumsIf albums were supposed to be rated by originality this is a "10". It's like anything I ever heard before. However, I picked this albums strictly for the music and this album blows. It tested my limits of patience when I was listening to it in a car - stuck in traffic. There are noises, people screaming, playing flute, harmonica, violin, whistles, bells, and all types of weird instruments. And there is no order in this madness. Just listen to the title track that goes for 32 minutes. From minute 10 to 32 Gira is basically pounding the same chord on his guitar for 22 minutes to get to the violent drum and guitars climax. And after I survived this track and though "it can't get any worse" next track features 2 minutes of rain falling and some people just yelling for 5 minutes. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but music supposed to be fun to listen to. This album is depressing and whatever you do don't play it with your date around, or it's going to be a short date. Full Review »
  2. Oct 14, 2012
    7
    A 7/10, and this is me being generous. To sit through the full two hours felt like a chore more than an enjoyable music-listening experience.A 7/10, and this is me being generous. To sit through the full two hours felt like a chore more than an enjoyable music-listening experience. Still, 'Avatar' is a fantastic song, and I'm bound to rate anything with Karen O's vocals highly, so 'Song for a Warrior' earns high marks as well. Overall though, needs more killer, less filler. Full Review »
  3. Aug 30, 2012
    10
    As young Swans they used to be regarded as provocative, multitalented and special in a way that made them a choice for minority. AlthoughAs young Swans they used to be regarded as provocative, multitalented and special in a way that made them a choice for minority. Although critics seemed to always acclaim their work, people not really and one of the most important bands of the late 80-ties and 90-ties disbanded. Now they are back. They strike with such power, strength and reflection that it is hard to pass by. Once You start You may easily lost 2 hours digging in dark meditations and strong, "wall of noise" music. Yummy. Probably the best album this year. Probably their best work to date. Highly recommended. An instant classic. Full Review »