SwansThe Seer

Label:Young God Records – YG45
2 x CD, Album
Style:Post-Punk, Post Rock, Experimental, Noise Rock


1-2Mother Of The World9:57
1-3The Wolf1:35
1-4The Seer32:14
1-5The Seer Returns6:18
1-693 Ave. B Blues5:22
1-7The Daughter Brings The Water2:41
2-1Song For A Warrior3:58
2-3A Piece Of The Sky19:10
2-4The Apostate23:01

Companies, etc.


  • Artwork, Painting [Paintings], Photography By [Swans Photo Portraits]Simon Henwood
  • Engineer [Additional Recording Assistant At Trout]Adam Sachs
  • Engineer [Additional Recording Engineer At Trout]Bryce Goggin
  • Guest [Special Guest], Accordion [Various Songs]Cassis Staudt*
  • Guest [Special Guest], Accordion, Vocals, Dulcimer, Guitar, Piano, Instruments [Assorted Other Instruments]Caleb Mulkerin (tracks: 1-5), Colleen Kinsella (tracks: 1-5)
  • Guest [Special Guest], Backing VocalsDana Janssen (tracks: 2-3), Jarboe (tracks: 1-5), Miles Seaton (tracks: 2-3), Seth Olinsky (tracks: 2-3)
  • Guest [Special Guest], Backing Vocals, Voice [Voice Collage]Jarboe (tracks: 2-3)
  • Guest [Special Guest], BagpipesIain Graham (tracks: 1-4)
  • Guest [Special Guest], Cello [Steel Cello]Bob Rutman* (tracks: 1-4)
  • Guest [Special Guest], Cello [Various Songs]Jane Scarpantoni
  • Guest [Special Guest], Contrabassoon [Contra Bassoon]Stefan Rocke (tracks: 1-4)
  • Guest [Special Guest], Drums [Additional Drums]Kevin McMahon (2) (tracks: 1-5)
  • Guest [Special Guest], Electric Guitar, Sounds [Various Songs]Kevin McMahon (2)
  • Guest [Special Guest], HornsBruce Lamont (tracks: 1-4)
  • Guest [Special Guest], Jew's Harp [Jews Harp]Shon Mahoney (tracks: 1-5)
  • Guest [Special Guest], Lead Vocals [Lead Vocal]Karen O (tracks: 2-1)
  • Guest [Special Guest], Mandolin [Acoustic And Electric Mandolins], Clarinet [Various Songs]Sean Mackowiak (The Grasshopper)*
  • Guest [Special Guest], PianoBryce Goggin (tracks: 2-1)
  • Guest [Special Guest], Sounds [Fire Sounds (Acoustic And Synthetic)]Ben Frost (tracks: 2-3)
  • Guest [Special Guest], Violin [Various Songs]Eszter Balint
  • Guest [Special Guest], Vocals [Co-vocals]Al Of Low* (tracks: 1-1), Mimi Of Low* (tracks: 1-1)
  • Mastered ByDoug Henderson
  • Mastered By [Pre-mastering]Jamal Ruhe
  • Mixed ByKevin McMahon (2)
  • Performer [Honorary Swan], Piano, Organ, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Drums, Percussion, Keyboards [Casio], Synthesizer, Bass Guitar, Voice, Other [Bird Idea]Bill Rieflin*
  • Performer [Swans], Bass Guitar, Voice, Other [Incredible Handshake]Christopher Pravdica*
  • Performer [Swans], Drums, Percussion, Bells [Orchestral Bells], Dulcimer [Hammer Dulcimer], Violin [Handmade Violin Thing], Vibraphone, Piano, Clarinet, VoiceThor Harris
  • Performer [Swans], Drums, Percussion, Dulcimer [Hammer Dulcimer], VoicePhil Puleo
  • Performer [Swans], Electric Guitar, VoiceNorman Westberg
  • Performer [Swans], Lap Steel Guitar [Lap Steel Guitars], Electric Guitar, VoiceChristoph Hahn*
  • Performer [Swans], Voice, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Harmonica, Keyboards [Casio], SoundsMichael Gira
  • Producer [Produced By]Michael Gira
  • Recorded By [Assistants In Berlin]Boris*, Marco*
  • Recorded By [Berlin And New York]Kevin McMahon (2)


Recorded at Studio P4 and Andere Baustelle in Berlin, and at Marcata Studio, Gardiner, NY. Additional recording at Trout Recording, Brooklyn, NY.

Mixed at Marcata.

Mastered at Micro-Moose Berlin. Pre-mastering at West Westside Music.

Karen O appears courtesy of Interscope Records.

Comes in a tri-fold Digipak.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode (Text & scanned, UPC-A): 658457004524
  • Matrix / Runout: CD204-247 YG45 The Seer CD #1 REV/CA
  • Matrix / Runout: CD204-248 YG45 The Seer CD #2 REV/CA

Other Versions (5 of 19)

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Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
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The Seer (3×LP, Album)Young God RecordsYG45US2012
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The Seer (2×CD, Album, DVD, NTSC, All Media, Special Edition)Young God RecordsYG45US2012
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The Seer (11×File, MP3, Album, VBR)Young God Recordsnone2012
The Seer (2×CD, Album, Promo)Young God RecordsYG45US2012
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The Seer (11×File, WAV, Album, 44kHz 16bit)Young God Recordsnone2012



  • r89756's avatar
    This album is HARD. Which is why it's awesome.
    • d-JCB's avatar
      for music fans willing to go to the dark side... it's time to take on Swan's magnus opus from 2012:: "The Seer"... also my fave album of the past 5-10 years... well the best album i can recall since Ben Frost's 2006 LP "Theory Of Machines"... then hearing parts of "The Seer" live at ATP Melbourne 2013 was one of the most amazing live performances ive witnessed from a band... it's the only time ive watched a live gig and felt like i was insane to some level, not to mention that i felt totally off my head / wasted, yet i was totally straight... the only thing i can compare it to is watching Kubrick's "The Shining" for the first time, where i came out with the insanity of Jack brooding inside me...

      the best way i can describe the sound they have molded over the decades till this pinnacle album's inception is like walking towards the gates of hell, one step at a time, with your skin being burnt and ripped off... but still willing to keep walking forward... tho it's not just pure evil tension, u get rewarded with a cool down periods, mid tempo deep & funky stuff, straight charging aggressive rock or beautiful vocals and arrangements that make u want to cry... but all set in a minimalistic structure, where each element of each track flows and slowly progresses, taking you through so many emotional states... fkn next level...

      CD1 will give you the drift, but if u can get past the epic 32min s/t piece "The Seer", you are already on yr way to listen to one of the most amazing albums ever created... cause by the time u get to CD2, uv alrdy been on such a journey, that you're quite gob smacked... it took me about 5 listens to finally get through the whole album cause it's so FUCKING DENSE... yet so balanced... a perfect balance between darkness and light...

      over 2CD's this is one album that instantly became my uncontested album of 2012 upon release... tho i havent listened to it many times all the way through with total concentration... cause i get stuck on so many moments throughout the double album, i want to keep going back before going forward... and if you do totally lock in, like ive done on a few occasions at home, or live at ATP, i was absolutely destroyed and emotionally torn... cause ive been taken thru the gates of hell, but when you finally work your way through the intricate nooks of the furnace, you come out feeling enlightened...
      • marks's avatar
        Edited 10 years ago
        Now that the dust has settled and all the rave reviews have said their peace, I've got a few remarks of my own about what M. Gira and his band of manly men have crafted. This album speaks more through the music it contains than the words which Gira has written; there are not many songs on The Seer and more than a few promises have been fulfilled by it. The main one, of course, is the conclusion to the Body Lovers: the title track (much like the elongated bonus disc for My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to The Sky) is a massive, sprawling creation of pure studio techniques. It is part three, no matter how many people want to call it Swans, the trilogy is at last ended. After fourteen years. Another prominent feature is that The Seer does actually sound more like a Swans album than anything they've done since Swans Are Dead. In fact, the line between that live album and Soundtracks for the Blind to this one is bold indeed. There can be no mistaking that this is where Swans have picked up from, unlike their last album which still contained traces of the sadly extinct Angels of Light, The Seer is nothing but muscle. This record is a festival of blunt, bloodied and battered beauty. It is hard to maintain coherence here, so I'm going to just let it rip...

        What is The Seer?

        The Seer is vindictive malice, The Seer is cold contempt, The Seer is a set of steps trod upon quietly by one checking on the drying skins of his victims in the basement, The Seer is rusted majesty sternly pronouncing judgement, The Seer is a Father in the snow chopping wood and then turning the axe on his children, The Seer is the product of six men who refused to compromise and turned their respective muses into a funeral pyre. The Seer has been called the album which took Swans over twenty years to make and I'm in agreeance, here's why. Some years back at an Angels of Light show, I had occasion to meet Mr. Christophe Hahn, a fellow who has been on more albums which Gira has done than just about anyone; during the course of our conversation he intimated to me how different 1991's White Light From the Mouth of Infinity could have sounded if only his roaring guitar parts had not been removed during the mixing. Those parts may not have made the cut then...

        But they have now, exploding in every direction with the guts torn out and hanging lifelessly from the rotting tendrils of flesh. Of course, Norman Westerburg's contributions as a guitarist on The Seer are in no way paltry but they are definitely eclipsed by what Hahn has at last been allowed to see through. This is the logical conclusion to decades spent knowing how much more powerful an already ruthlessly authoritative album could have turned out. Now that I've heard what he was getting at all those years ago I really have to stand up and applaud, you won't dare come away from listening to The Seer without noticing them. I also cannot leave out Thor Harris' input. I first caught him in action back in 1999 on the inaugural Angels of Light tour and he filled up the tiny space they were in magnificently. His assertive, almost abusive manner of playing gives The Seer some incredible stamina (the thing is over two hours in length). The man built his own house! How many people can say they've done this. For all the imposing shots taken of him, however, in person he's one of the most low key people I've met.

        And of course, there's Gira. Gira the ringleader, Gira the band master, Gira the studio dictator, Gira the author, Gira the singer who at age 58 goes harder than anyone out there. His decision to re-activate Swans was not done lightly, clearly he's got more than a few things to say. You never know what you're getting with him and in person he is either outrageously curt or impeccably polite. There is no middle ground in what he does, be it Swans, Angels of Light or on his own. His style of writing is incisive, I don't mean that in some metaphorical or referential sense, I mean that literally. What he grinds out is going to grind into you, find yourself a copy of his book The Consumer if you don't believe me. Better yet, get yourself a copy of The Seer and get ready to be rumbled. This is an avalanche of sound that will come down on you like a ton of bricks.
        • enfantterrible's avatar
          Edited 11 years ago
          Maybe theres a problem for a simple human to understand why a band has to die and then the problem becomes even bigger when that same band "born again" some years later. I think bands deserve to die as much as all things do. But fans, and that means people, and that ultimately means humans want everything to come back again, in a way, to be inmortal or to remain unalterable.
          That's much to ask for a band like the Swans, now reborn as some sort of Phoenix from its ashes.
          Like it or not, it is a new bird even if it looks the same. You feel the power from it yet something doesnt coincide.

          Its impossible to get back to that youthful moments that the band granted with that furious heavy industry like sound from their beginnings or the lyrical melancholy made as a self deceptive exposition on the obscure nature of love in their mid period. Those times are gone forever and for good, because to ask for a revival of those sentiments now will be a complete failure with sincerity.

          Instead we are more close to the Swans from the last years before passing away. Atmospheric yet with a compliment entirely given to Noise rock, a monument of guitar drones, static and reverb, pieces of Post rock spread all over and an instrumentation granting all the power & ritualistic atmosphere of a retrospective which is what ultimately facilitates the recognition from this revived act.

          Gira is revisiting its own past without obviating the fact that he is old and that the Swans are renewed with young people, the ones who now re-interpret his vision, ultimately delivering this album with a Swans character but that clearly defines a new stage in their development.

          The seer is by definition a Rock album in its rawest, most legendary form, the abundancy of elements that made its elaboration, demonstrates this fact. Take for instance the use of guitars for its force, the dry tuning of the drums, the pushing hooks given on the rhythmic section, though this rawness is softened by the atmospheric construction that is put to rotate around or after the more rhythmic sections and this part is again delivered by the wall of sound made of guitars, the huge incorparation of instruments (that could resemble a small orchestra) and the wise set of engineers and guests (such as Bill Rieflin) that consolidate the ideas put into play.

          There's evidently a young spirit present in the Swans, primarily on the instrumental section, delivering the reflections from one mind reflecting about the now but carrying the past on its shoulders.The core of the band transpires this young lust, this appetite for living, yet the music guards its well articulated deliverances, more simple, perhaps with a hint of hope that was not present in previous works.

          The Swans were dead, now they are born again, everything is the same but nothing remains unaltered.
          • gerryc's avatar
            Last years release " My Father will guide me.......was a great return along with some blistering live gigs (my ears are still ringing) which you can get a taste of on their live release from earlier this year but this album will leave you breathless! as it has all the elements I love about their music which can be tender yet hard at the same time and taking you to the stratosphere while you listen.


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