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Swans - Forever Burned

Forever Burned is a limited hand-made CD from Young God Records compiling the long out-of-print Swans 1989 Burning World release, rounded by several tracks from Love of Life and the sprawling White Light From the Mouth of Infinity. Burning World was a milestone release from the Swans capturing the transition from their primal noise onslaught to something more melodic, acoustic.

It's appearance in 1989 alienated many hardened Swans fans but the intervening years have been kind to the Burning World. In hindsight it subtleties belie its intrinsic power. The appearance of acoustic guitars and Bill Laswell's, at times, inappropriate production almost made the Swans appear user-friendly. It's a pity that MCA/Universal failed to promote this properly, and in doing so almost fouled up Giras and the Swans future as artists for a number of years. Gira's lyrical concerns were never diluted, however. The pathos of 'She's A Universal Emptiness', the desperation of 'Jane Mary Cry One Tear' and the exquisite 'God Damn The Sun'. A sorry tale of alcohol and depression and the passing of a dear love, as documented on 'God Damn the Sun' delivered in a beautiful emotive vocal wrapped in melodic acoustic guitar and Hollywood style strings. This remains one of the most potent Swans tracks ever. The plaintive 'No Cure For the Lonely' almost apes Gira's subsequent work as the Angels of Light. Stripped of any embellishment this is stark and emotive. 'Love of Life' conjures up a swirling kaleidescope of sound while Gira in declatory fashion delivers an almost Nietzschean lyric: "Now the strong will rise, for the love of light. In the bloodless light, now the strong survive. For the love of life, for the blood of life. And the heavens come, for the strongest ones'. Heady stuff, indeed. There's no mercy for the weak on 'God Loves America' or on 'Power and Sacrifice' where Gira intones "I want power. I feel a sacrifice. I am dead to right or wrong". Throughout Forever Burned Gira's depicts his viewpoint as cruel, callous and vengeful. Forever Burned is completed with the Gira led vocal of their much sought after Joy Division cover of 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'.

There are many reasons to obtain this ultra-limited signed (and personally dedicated) release but I was pleased that my hard-earned money went straight to Gira, a small payback for his continuing brutal vision as an artist. For more information go to