Leaving Meaning. Image
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 23 Ratings

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  • Summary: The 15th full-length studio release for the experimental rock band led by Michael Gira features contributions from such artists as Baby Dee, Ben Frost, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, The Necks, Anna and Maria von Hausswolff, as well as former Swans members: Thor Harris, Christopher Pravdica, PhilThe 15th full-length studio release for the experimental rock band led by Michael Gira features contributions from such artists as Baby Dee, Ben Frost, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, The Necks, Anna and Maria von Hausswolff, as well as former Swans members: Thor Harris, Christopher Pravdica, Phil Puleo, Paul Wallfisch, and Norman Westberg. Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. 90
    In its bone-chilling, earnest spirit, we witness Swans maintaining a power they never lost – we see them exceeding expectations, branding themselves as a seismic force in experimental rock, and here, they continue to touch on that greatness.
  2. Oct 25, 2019
    85
    Gira, with the help of many talents, has concocted Swans’ most beautiful yet most bleak sounding record of its 30-plus years existence.
  3. Uncut
    Oct 25, 2019
    80
    The template remains intact, with monotony fundamental: The Necks lend the title track's repetitions a shimmering, slowly evolving transcendence, Anna Von Hauswolff and sister maria provide bloodcurdling shrieks on the devastating, pummelling "Sunfucker," and Baby Dee adds voodoo magic to "The Nub." [Dec 2019, p.32]
  4. Q Magazine
    Nov 19, 2019
    80
    Anyone wanting more of the multilayered sense of foreboding afforded by 2016's The Glowing Man, Meanwhile, will be delighted by the pulverising Sunfucker and The Hanging Man. [Jan 2020, p.114]
  5. Nov 13, 2019
    77
    Sonically, the album backs away from the dirge-rock rave-ups that defined the group’s last four albums. That’s a welcome development.
  6. Classic Rock Magazine
    Nov 13, 2019
    70
    This is music to immerse yourself in, lose yourself within its many complexities and layers of sound, sudden explosions of light and directed commentary; always fascinating, challenging and densely packed. Sepulchral, sombre, challenging, claustrophobic. [Dec 2019, p.85]
  7. The Wire
    Nov 20, 2019
    50
    Leaving Meaning has all of the reassuring turgidity and tortured self-importance devotees have come to expect plus a cast of name contributors (The Necks, Ben Frost, Baby Dee, Anna von Hausswolff among others) for that vital essence of “Well, if they’re working with him, he’s probably OK, right?” [Dec 2019, p.57]

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Oct 27, 2019
    10
    Transcendent. Love the new direction. I hope this is fleshed out more in subsequent releases.
  2. Nov 19, 2019
    10
    Como es habitual un disco de la hostia. En la línea de los anteriores pero algo más (anti)folk.
  3. Oct 26, 2019
    9
    The new Swans album is one of the best of the year, the 1 hour and 33-minute length is perfect. Gira and company pull the listener into theseThe new Swans album is one of the best of the year, the 1 hour and 33-minute length is perfect. Gira and company pull the listener into these amazing drones/grooves. On the track "The Hanging Man" you are pulled into this groove that almost makes you feel like your falling into a never-ending hole while Gira narrates your fall. The title track is a relaxing drone, almost preparing you for what's coming next. Then there's the track "Sunf*cker" where Gira is wailing, the tension is building only to be released into this hypnotizing groove. Afterwards, there's the track "The Nub", a track with a very sinister drone. I found when I heard "What is this?" I thought the album was over, the track really wraps the album up but then "My Phantom Limb" played and I felt this sense of overwhelming chaos wash up over me. Expand
  4. Nov 8, 2019
    9
    A cool-down like this is everything I could ever want from Mr Gira after such earth-shattering trilogy.
  5. Oct 26, 2019
    7
    Helped to while away the time cleaning out the small room. A bit repetitive but that added to the zenness of the job