Public Castration Is A Good Idea
[Thirsty Ear]

Brutally heavy - imagine (early) Godflesh playing at Thergothon like speeds (although in all fairness, SWANS were doing this *long* before either of those bands existed) and you might begin to grasp what's in store for you on this, the long awaited CD release of the quintessential live SWANS album, "Public Castration Is A Good Idea". Originally a limited issue semi-official double-LP bootleg, "Public Castration..." shows the band at the height of their career - the Greed/Holy Money era. Recorded during 3 different shows on their 1986 UK tour, the sound quality is a bit on the gritty side of things (especially on the first 6 tracks), but instead of detracting from the enjoyment of this release, it actually adds to it, giving the bands already abrasive music a bit of an extra edge. For those not familiar with the SWANS, I suppose a word of caution is best spoken: this is NOT metal in any way, shape or form...it's got more in common with the "industrial" movement of old (meaning before the introduction of synths and gay gothic iconography), but even "industrial" is a completely off label to attribute to them. As I said in the opening sentence, Godflesh would be a pretty good reference point (as a matter of fact, the first two Godflesh releases ("Streetcleaner" and the EP commonly referred to as "Swordfish") were unabated SWANS worship of the highest order, with the main difference being that Godflesh used a drum machine (the SWANS used (depending on the period) live drummers - sometimes two of them in fact), and Godflesh also employed effected vocals (Michael Gira, the vocalist of the SWANS, managed to get ungodly enough sounds without the use of any electronic aids)...and of course there's the speed difference - SWANS tended to be a bit slower in overall pace (hence the Thergothon reference). Clocking in at just under 74 minutes (divided up amongst 8 tracks), this is not something which can just be thrown on as light background music - it's a journey into the deepest depths of hell, with lyrical content focusing on the useless nature of existence and mans preoccupation with all things tangible (that's artsy speak for "fucking depressing shit"). Highly recommended for those seeking something oppressively heavy and who've grown tired of death metal cliches...

1999 chorazaim