Swans – Oxygen | Track Review

When: To Be Kind – 12/05/2014
Where: Young God/Mute
Like/Love: LOVE
Swans have so far spent this year keeping everybody excited for the release of their new album To Be Kind, but while we still have another month to go until it’s out the veterans of strange have gifted us with another glimpse into what we believe is going to be a more guitar-driven record. Oxygen is the second sample of To Be Kind, and considering it follows from the ear bleeding, grooving A Little God In My Hands, it too also delivers on so many levels.
A Little God In My Hands was definitely a head beater with some huge distorted walls of whatever you could call it destroying any hint that Swans had embraced a poppier, softer sound. It’s chugging rhythm alongside some somewhat hook-like vocals certainly came as a surprise to us, especially as it was the first taste of new material since 2012’s The Seer. This time though with an extra minute and no hint of immediate waves of implosion Oxygen is a much more accessible listen in the sense that it’s slightly more easier to get into, but that doesn’t make it any less fantastic.
A gritty bassline kicks off the track delivering another solid groove that repeats throughout the seven minutes but with it’s off-kilter coalition with the drums and Michael Gera’s howls upon howls that descend into a freaking badass piece of hard hitting music around the middle of the track. As Oxygen progresses it seems to head in a direction where oxygen begins to run out as the vocals become more delirious, the drums become muddy with aggression, and the guitars call out in pain for some salvation. It’s fucking awesome man. Something so unappealing should not be this good. Goddamn.
Right now I wouldn’t be surprised if To Be Kind ends up becoming album of the year. Both Oxygen and A Little God In My Hands have been fantastic glimpses into a record that I hope gives us even more original grooves, and becomes Swans’ best album yet too. For more music reviews, free downloads and OXYGENNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN check out Exploding Head Syndrome on Facebook and Twitter.

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