If there's music in hell, this is what it sounds like. It's conceivable that some band, somewhere, is making music heavier, darker, and just generally less fun than this, but if you find one, ask who one of their greatest influences is and they'll probably refer you to the Swans. Led by the cavern-voiced "singer" and songwriter Michael Gira, the Swans bludgeoned and mauled their way through 13 (an appropriate number) years of slow, grinding mayhem before calling it quits (for the first time) in 1996. This two-disc set reissues three early LPs and one EP in one convenient brown and black package that includes sketchy musician credits, contact information, and the complete lyrics to all songs (as a sample, here's the entirety of "Nobody": "I mean nothing to myself/I hate my body/I'm stuck in myself/I'm nothing/I'm nobody/Glory! Glory! Glory! Glory!"). The mood never alters and the painful gloom never lifts. But sometimes that's just what the doctor ordered.
AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2