Kill the Child

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The minimal packaging says nothing about exactly where the concerts in question occurred, except for the curt "Recorded U.K./Germany/Yugoslavia"; nor does it specify who make up the band's personnel, outside of an audible Gira and Jarboe, plus presumably guitarist Westberg. Recorded at various dates between 1985 and 1987, Kill the Child consists mostly of Children of God tracks, though "Coward" and a strong "A Screw (Holy Money)" both put in appearances as well. Quite whether this is another semi-official bootleg getting a legitimate release (probable, considering the at-times muddy sound and overheard audience chat) or an item direct from the archives is something not even the official Swans website fully confirms. Regardless of exact origin, Kill presents a fierce view of the band at their explosive, overwhelming best live. "Like a Drug (Sha La La)" starts things off viciously, building into a massive guitar/drum ending, only to be matched by the tremendous start to "Beautiful Child" seconds later. Extreme enough on Children, here the song lays the studio version to waste, with Gira's unearthly scream/singing perfectly in sync with the band's take-no-prisoners performance. "Blind Love," however, takes centerpiece honors, delivered in a truly stunning 15-minute performance that starts off wracked enough and then, when the band fully kicks in, alternates between frighteningly calm and incredibly destructive, with Gira and Westberg especially performing as if their lives depended on it. Jarboe gets her specific moment to shine with a mesmerizing version of "Blood and Honey," the one moment of relative semi-calm on an otherwise outright pummeling disc. [Note: there is no song list on the actual packaging itself, and the entire CD is mastered as one long track.]

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
blue highlight denotes track pick