The Glowing Man

Swans - The Glowing Man
Critic Score
Based on 22 reviews
2016 Ratings: #117 / 926
User Score
Based on 695 ratings
2016 Ratings: #11
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The Arts Desk

The Glowing Man is not just the most impressive album of this particular self-proclaimed “iteration” of Swans, but can easily lay claim to being their best to date.

Pretty Much Amazing

The album is monumental in every sense of the word, a visceral testament to the abilities of an incredible group of musicians, each member contributing equally to its breathtaking chiaroscuro.

The Needle Drop

Legendary experimental rock outfit Swans returns with one of the most transcendental releases in their discography: The Glowing Man.

A.V. Club

If The Glowing Man and its recent expansive—and invitingly difficult—predecessors have proven anything, it’s that Gira’s mission is to be boundary-less.

Consequence of Sound

In all of that lies the brilliance of Swans. No experimental group has been able to so perfectly reflect the psychological turmoil of existence and the heavy burden of our pains and regrets.


Swans close their current chapter on a subdued but powerful note.

Slant Magazine

A defiantly draining listen that's also weirdly uplifting in its ruthless pursuit of a singular vision, The Glowing Man confirms that Gira is an unparalleled artist operating at a strange experimental nexus, somewhere outside the defined borders of folk, metal, classical, and drone.

The album serves as another exhilarating portal into the unknown.
The Line of Best Fit

We’re left with yet another cathartic artefact that, whilst perhaps shrinking in the shadow of what came before, bookends the latest metamorphosis of a band whose next form is anyone’s guess.


Unsettling as it may be, this conflict is a testament to Swans’ unparalleled ability to translate the absurd violence of the human condition into music that’s as intoxicating as it is intense.


It has a slightly transitory feel; a half-step back from those monolithic builds and whiplash grooves, gesturing towards something more contemplative and… well, “softer” feels the wrong word, but certainly weathered by the journey.


With a running time of just under two hours, ‘The Glowing Man’ may prove too punishing for some but those willing to invest time in its fiery depths will discover yet another remarkable Swans album.

Spectrum Culture

This is altogether a gentler Swans than existed even on the occasionally blissful To Be Kind.

The Sydney Morning Herald

The Glowing Man is, according to Michael Gira, a record in which the Swans leader – 62 years old, 14 LPs in – stares into the face of mortality, infinity, God. It sounds like it, too; such lofty thematic ambition matched across a two-hour triple-album striving for the firmament, the transcendent.

Drowned in Sound

Read as something of a restatement of ideals The Glowing Man is impressive, if perhaps unessential.


Fans of the band will enjoy the mature and practiced sound of this very good album, but the unconvinced might remain so, as the band don't exactly reinvent the wheel on The Glowing Man.


A record that’s as uncompromising as Swans’ best work from this era, but hardly as essential.

Under The Radar

Whereas The Seer and To Be Kind defied boredom and logic with two-hour runtimes, The Glowing Man wears its 118 minutes less gracefully.

Tiny Mix Tapes

This failure to consistently engage will perhaps be as much a block on its reception, appreciation, and interpretation as any uncertain allegation bearing on its author’s private life.

Rolling Stone

While their long, drawn-out, circling dark clouds remain potent, ultimately The Glowing Man is the weakest of the three powerful epics they've released since 2012.

Erasing my old review to talk about this album, that has grown to be one of the most hypnotic listens I’ve ever heard. It’s no surprise that I have enjoyed Swans work. To Be Kind is a behemoth of an album that feels larger than life. Soundtracks for the Blind is an album that is shocking and challenging, but satisfying every step of its insanely long journey. With The Glowing Man, we get something completely different.

I ran across this album after hearing TBK expecting something ... read more
The sonic landscape that Mr. Gira has been exploring for nearly 40 years was ranging from pure unmasked violence to existential dread. During this long, exhausting trip he managed to stay true to one thing – his own unique vision. It didn't matter boundaries of what genre he's been pushing: industrial, noise rock, folk, or post-rock – the end-result was always a total mess. A total mess with Gira's signature written all over it. And that's, pretty much, what Swans always were for. ... read more
2:10 P.M. I have an appointment with Mr. G, like every two years.

Anxious, as before each session with Mr. G., I mechanically tap my foot on the floor while fixing the front door of the office. Mr. G contacted me as usual, shortly before the release date of his new album. The man is a musician and, in order to respect his anonymity, I will not reveal in this review the name of his band. He should be here any minute now. The previous sessions have always followed a similar pattern: Mr. G calls ... read more
The title track... the damn title track... THAT TITLE TRACK... I have no words. A freaking 12/10 that is.

Am I the only one who automatically loves an album the first time I hear it? Cause wow... this is one of the most transcendent albums Swans has ever put out. To say the trilogy of albums along with this (The Seer, TBK, this) isn't one of the greatest 3 album lineups of the decade, or century, or at all is crazy to me. Swans released some of the most powerful, brutal, transcendent and ... read more
The title track changes the way you think
for real
to me atleast
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Added on: April 5, 2016