Swans - The Seer
Critic Score
Based on 33 reviews
2012 Ratings: #6 / 1094
Year End Rank: #7
User Score
2012 Ratings: #6
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Drowned in Sound

The Seer is the culmination of Gira’s 30-year-journey; his finest two hours, if you will.

Tiny Mix Tapes

It’s an exhausting and maddening document, but one can’t help but emerge from it filled with a renewed radiance.

FACT Magazine

The Seer is clearly brilliant, and may even be Swans’ finest album yet, three decades in.

No Ripcord

The Seer is 30 years’ worth of effort, a unique and exciting height earned after decades of creation, experimentation and unconventional musical disassembly. 

A.V. Club

With The Seer, one thing is certain: Even during its quietest lulls, Gira has never sounded louder. 

Swans unleash a new brand of hell on Earth: a feverish, post-apocalyptic beast that took thirty years to craft.

It manages to expand on their sound while simultaneously summarizing everything they've ever recorded before.


Two years after My Father Will Lead Me Up to a Rope to the Sky, The Seer is the most sprawling, ambitious, thoughtfully conceived and tightly performed recording in the band's catalog.

Beats Per Minute

Just be thankful that the new Swans are as clever, as terrifying, and as proficient in their craft as presented on The Seer. There still aren’t any other bands out there quite like this.

Consequence of Sound

It’s wily, cunning, and aims to pull out the ecstasy hiding down in the guts of everyone, no matter if it’s uplifting or wretched.

The Line of Best Fit
It’s a relentlessly foreboding experience, as aggressive in its quietest moments as it is in its most cacophonous, as delicate when bringing a full band assault as when moments of curious, uncomfortable calm unfurl from the chaos.
Loud and Quiet
To say that it’s possible to contain ‘The Seer’ in print would be to do it a disservice.
Crack Magazine
Swans’ second album since reforming after a 13-year hiatus sees the band on blistering, career-best form, a sprawling monolith of a record which lurches between bludgeoning noise, woozily lilting Gothic Americana, drone and bastardised Eastern motif-appropriation.

It’s an absolute delight to get lost in. Swans have enjoyed a renewed lease on life for two years now, but it’s The Seer that will truly pull the seminal group out of its own considerable shadow.

Metal Hammer

By bringing old and new together and reshaping them for his own ends, Gira seems to be reaching for the definitive statement of what his band represents, while basking in the euphoria conjured by his own extraordinary creativity. The Seer is all that and more. Ageless, fearless and peerless: Swans are alive and nothing else comes close.

The 405

The Seer is a superlative album which ranks amongst the very best work released under Swans name. 

Spectrum Culture

The Seer does not show the band at its most raucous and it will not find wide commercial success – which wasn’t ever in the equation anyway – but with its primal instincts and exposed nerve endings revealed at every turn, it makes for one helluva disconcerting, and perversely mesmerizing, listen.


The Seer ... is a brave record, one that at times threatens to lose its hold on you, but in the end one that manages to be self indulgent without being self serving. 


This album’s two-hour stretch may seem offputtingly dense at first, but give them time, and Swans ... will take you to a place that is beyond good and evil.


The Seer is a planet-eating Galactus of an album. Two hours long and six sides of vinyl, with three separate songs unraveling past the 19-minute mark.

The Skinny

These songs will likely continue to mutate at the band's cathartic live shows, but as it stands The Seer already has much to offer, fusing together aggression and grace with thunderous results.

Slant Magazine

Sprawling across two discs, comprising 11 tracks and two hours, Swans’ The Seer has a pretty alien configuration for an album, with songs ranging from one to 32 minutes in length.

The Guardian

The Seer won't be for everybody, but deserves to win new converts.

NOW Magazine

The Seer will definitely raise the band's profile, although its sheer intensity and ugliness may scare people away. On the other hand, sitting through the whole thing even once is enough to leave a permanent mark on the listener.

The Independent
It's no idle boast: over two hours, their 12th album covers all points from brutality to beauty in pursuit of epiphanies.

With great ambition comes great risk. Nine times out of 10, The Seer’s sonic gambles pay off massively.

Under The Radar

With a firmly established legend behind him, The Seer doesn't serve to endear him to new fans but rather to deepen his already compelling narrative.

Rolling Stone
There are muses old (vocalist Jarboe) and new (Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O, singing the haunted folk prayer "Song for a Warrior"). But guitar noise is leader Michael Gira's reigning mistress: See the roaring 32-minute title track – a season in hell, and then some.
It’s a work that demands to be listened to – but it’s difficult to want, with any certainty or honesty, to listen to it again in its entirety.
It’s a bold and stark opus worthy of attention, if your attention span is long enough.
Classic Rock

Even after a week of living with this album, it’s not clear if it’s a work of breathtaking genius or art-wank insanity. It’ll probably turn out to be a bit of both.

[Original score 81, then 95] I am rewriting my review for this album

Swans - The Seer is not an easy listen. This is one of the few albums I have heard that has genuinely terrified me to uncontrollable tears. The diverse arrangement of tracks paints a really grim and open story. There is a lot of interpretation to be had with this album. Simply laying back and letting it consume me, I saw the story of this Seer as a physical man becoming a monster. The ending solidified this to me and it sent ... read more
This isn't your average every day darkness. This is...Advanced Darkness.

Oh boy oh boy was I excited for this record. The cover art has intimidated and interested me ever since my small child brain saw it browsing Spotify one day back when it was first released. That cover art has stuck in my brain like a knife, and I have always wanted to listen to what exactly this album had in store for me as soon as I could. It's such an evil image, and I was over the moon to finally be confronted with the ... read more
Now that I think of it...

The Seer > To Be Kind

God damn! The atmosphere of The Seer is almost impossible to replicate! Out of all the Swans albums, The Seer is definitely one of the tougher albums to sit through, but it's satisfying in a way like no other. It's dark, horrifying, ominous, yet also elegant and fascinatingly hypnotic. While To Be Kind is a noisier, more abrasive album, The Seer represents a fine balance between noise and calmness to create a creative experience that REALLY ... read more

So this is an album that has only grown and grown on me, I'm this close to giving it a 10, anyway, wanted to rewrite this review in order to well, give my opinion on this magnificent album, but not only that, to also give my theory on this album, as I've done with You Won't Get What You Want and Downward Spiral prior, I'm gonna basically give my two cents on this.

So we start with Lunacy, an unsettling tribal chanting for "Lunacy" now, what does that ... read more
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Added on: August 10, 2012