The Angels Of Light – We Are Him (2007)

To me, We Are Him is the “heaviest” of all the Angels Of Light material, for lack of a better way of describing it. In hindsight, their final album was a precursor to the reformation of Swans in 2010. It mashes together the usual artsy, folky vibes of earlier Angels stuff with heavy bass lines and thumping percussion attacks. Listening to the first ten seconds of “Goodbye Mary Lou” is enough to cement that We Are Him is still steeped in the roots from which the Angels Of Light spawned, but there is a palpable menace brooding over this record.

Let’s face it, “Black River Song” and “My Brother’s Man” could easily have been on the Swans reformation album, My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky. Both are mind numbingly repetitive, driven by bass and heavy percussion, and narrated by twisted, slightly disturbing vocal lines. But, this is still an Angels Of Light record, and moments of clarity and beauty are in abundance. I never thought I’d ever be into something that resembles country and western, but Michael Gira will take you strange places if you are willing to follow. “Sunflower’s Here To Stay” and “The Visitor” are simply stunning, intricately composed and immensely delicate tracks of American goodness.

If you liked the softer side to Swans and haven’t heard Angels Of Light yet, there’s no better place to start than here. Self-released by Gira on Young God Records.