The Glowing Man
Swans - The Glowing Man
Critic Score
Based on 17 reviews
2016 Ratings: #160 / 724
User Score
Based on 197 ratings
2016 Ratings: #25
June 17, 2016 / Release Date
LP / Format
Young God, Mute / Label / Website
Your Review


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.

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.

Jun 12, 2016
The Glowing Man is the perfect culmination of what Swans have been offering to us this past decade and serves as an excellent conclusion to this gut-wrenching era of the legendary band. While To Be Kind represented the group at their most animalistic in the deepest layers of Hell, The Glowing Man has the group sending off their last prayers while infinitely ascending towards the light. Michael Gira himself set a goal for himself to finish off with the best album yet and I think this effort ... read more
Jun 14, 2016
Michael Gira and his Swans are back with the fourth and final record of this iteration of the band. The Glowing Man is a huge, epic closing piece for this immense and ambitious project that has put out during the last few years some of the most outstanding and downright awe-inspiring music pieces of the decade, so far. It somehow works as a kind of summary for what the band has done in this iteration, blending all the mystic and dense atmospheres from The Seer (Cloud of Forgetting) with the ... read more
Jun 24, 2016
At this point the conversation of how much more can Swans push the envelope is irrelevant. What is not irrelevant is the fact that this album makes any other release within this year sound childish. The songwriting and ambition of this album makes me think Swans is the only band who takes music this seriously anymore.
Jun 16, 2016
Defiantly elusive with an operational twist in composition, The Glowing Man finds the band at a liminal stage. The album reads as a transitory period both viciously potent yet soft and viscous, equally meshing the volume and violence of Swans with extended passages of motorik rhythms. Gira channels the fortitude of the band in new reflection.

Chords continue to strike a match in the thrall of monolithic noise, but often swell into sparse riffs and loose percussion. First class bass ... read more
Jan 24, 2018
I had one unbelievable listen with this album. It was a listen where I was laying on my bed, balancing my head on my nose, my entire body was stiff and my mind was burrowed in “The Glowing Man” the title track. It was eargasm that had never been achieved. This album is really good but I’ve had too many bad listens to this album. It will grow... it has to 😭
Purchasing The Glowing Man from Amazon helps support Album of the Year.

Added on: April 5, 2016