The Seer - Swans
The Seer Image
Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 32 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 67 Ratings

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  • Band members: Michael Gira, Norman Westberg, Christoph Hahn, Phil Puleo
  • Summary: The second full-length studio release for the Michael Gira project includes the 32-minute title track and guest appearances by Akron/Family), Karen O, Alan Sparhawk, and Mimi Parker of Low
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. Aug 28, 2012
    100
    The Seer is the culmination of Gira's 30-year-journey; his finest two hours, if you will.
  3. 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
  4. Aug 28, 2012
    80
    The Seer won't be for everybody, but deserves to win new converts.
  5. Aug 30, 2012
    80
    The Seer will definitely raise the band's profile, although its sheer intensity and ugliness may scare people away.
  6. 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.
  7. Aug 28, 2012
    60
    It's a bold and stark opus worthy of attention, if your attention span is long enough.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 18
  2. Negative: 3 out of 18
  1. 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. 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. Collapse
  2. Dec 31, 2012
    10
    The Seer is, in my opinion, one of Swans' weirdest works to date. In that quality, it ranks among Cop or Filth. But the band as managed to make an album as good as those while using a completely different approach to the original idea of making music so "ugly" it's beautiful. In the mid 80s, they made dark, distorted, sludgy music that defined the new york "no wave" sound. Today, they make weird, psychedelic, repetitive music that makes good use of drones, dissonance and distortion, but at the same time takes a ton of influence from folk and americana. The feats (Karen O, Jarboe, Low) are amazing. If you like drone music you'll probably like this. It reminds me of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, "Soundtracks for the Blind" era Swans, maybe Earth. The obvious centerpiece is the 32 minute long title track, which starts as a drone played by a hurdy-gurdy, or maybe bagpipes, that develops in an amazing post-punk track, with Michael Gira chanting "I see it all" over and over. The track becomes just hits of noise played by all the instruments available: guitar, drums, percussion, lap steel, bass etc.... amazing. Avatar is also simply amazing, as is Song for a Warrior and the last two tracks. But it is in 93 Ave. B Blues that i see the weird peak of this album. If you like this track there is something really wrong with you. There is something really wrong with me. Expand
  3. Mar 12, 2014
    10
    I see it all I see it all I see it all I see it all I see it all I see it all I see it all I see it all I see it all I see it all I see it all I see it all Expand
  4. Nov 8, 2013
    9
    This is my first Swans album, and I'm thoroughly blown away. The endless shifts of texture, mood, and soundscapes paint a dark, grim tapestry to just get lost in. There are just enough clearer spots that can be considered mildly accessible, yet nowhere does Swans vision falter on this flawless journey. This album completely altered my perception on what experimental music can achieve, and will undoubtedly be heralded as a classic in the near future. Expand
  5. Sep 12, 2012
    9
    Dark and frequently terrifying. One of the few albums I've listened to that manages to be consistently creepy while remaining enjoyably musical even through its most dissonant moments. Experiencing this album is the audio equivalent of wandering through Tulgey Woods in Disney's version of Alice in Wonderland. Bleak and confusing, but populated with colorful twisted creatures that provide a strange sense of relief just as you are about to give into despair. Expand
  6. 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. 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. Expand
  7. Jan 3, 2013
    3
    You could spend two hours with The Beatles or a symphony or an audio book and deduct some reason from the work. You could also look at concrete or black paint for two hours, or listen to Swans' The Seer, which would leave you with nothing. The latter is an evil deed, and the fruit is bitter. Your choice. Expand

See all 18 User Reviews

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