The Desert and the Temple of Antiquity [Event Megathread]
2020.06.25 15:05 TheFourthReplica The Desert and the Temple of Antiquity [Event Megathread]
The winds blow us from the peaceful Slimetown to... is that a sandstorm?! Where are my Go-Goggles when I need them...? This event ends 9 July
Story time! Boss information will slowly come. As usual, the ADV indicates advanced levels; otherwise, the levels are for base classses.
|Story Name ||Boss ||Beginner ||Intermediate ||Advanced |
|To the Forgotten Temple ||No Boss ||5 ||20 ||ADV30 |
|Sandstorm! ||Boss: Scarab King ||10 ||25 ||ADV35 |
|Displaying the Black Rose ||Boss: Sandsaur ||15 ||35 ||ADV42 |
|The Temple of Wings ||Boss: Hades Condor ||20 ||40 ||ADV55 |
This event is quite a bit like the New Year's Event: the main goal is to collect ALL THE THINGS! which can be redeemed in the shop. You can collect Flowers (Red, Blue, and Black) from enemy monsters (and not just from the megalite!), though they don't drop 100% of the time. You unlock the red and blue flowers from completing the first quest, and the black ones from the second quest. The Sandsaur (see below) will drop Ancient Fossils. With this event comes a new megalite and a megamon! So generous, SE... the Megamon is the Gigantess, weak to Gira, Io, Crack, and Boulderbringer... and super-weak to Swoosh damage. Don't use Zamm attacks against her; they'll be ineffective.
Our megalite of the week is the Hades Condor. It'll spawn upon completion of the fourth quest.
Additionally with this event is the advent of Mirage Oases. When you go to one, there'll be a strong monster that spawns there: a Sandsaur or Stone Crablet. You will get (following the completion of the fourth quest) a stamp card for each Oasis you go to. Fill out the card to get fabulous prizes.
There's also a pretty standard 1k jewel login bonus and event missions. There are actually quite a few missions, though not specifically for this event. There's also the Megamon subjugation campaign, Slimichi's Excercising, and other various tasks.
Gacha: Ranger is the top (or second-best) class for a reason. Weapon is serviceable: good if you're already hitting Swoosh damage or the enemy's weak to it, but with few elemental options, it could be better, especially if your Armamentalist is weakening an enemy to a different element. It's still Ranger tech and it has a decent AoE attack... but I'd say that the Yellow Dragon Claws or any kind of boomerang are still your best bet for a Ranger weapon.
But, as they say, the black wind howls...
|Weapon ||Stats ||1 ||10 ||15 ||20 ||30 ||35 ||40 ||45 ||50 |
|Blackstorm Claws ||Attack +188 ||Atk +5, Moonsault: flying enemies 250%, else 130% ||Thin Air: AoE 120% Swoosh ||Can Opener: Machine 180%, else 120% ||Super Thin Air: AoE 190% Swoosh ||Tempest Blow: ST 180%x2 Swoosh ||Beast Damage +5% ||Flying Damage +5% ||Dazzle Chance +2% ||Atk +12 |
As usual, please follow all of your specific local and above regulations and guidelines if you go outside. Your health and safety is more important than this mobage. :)
|Armor ||Stats ||1 ||5 ||8 ||10 ||15 ||18 ||20 ||23 ||25 |
|Blackstorm Cowl ||Def +60 ||Beast Resist +5% ||Max HP +5 ||Bird Resist +5% ||Gigantess Damage +10% ||Swoosh Damage +5% ||Bird Resist +5% ||Def +5 ||Max MP +5 ||Def+7 |
|Blackstorm Robe ||Def +82 ||Gira Resist +5% ||Gigantess Damage +5% ||Max HP +5 ||Swoosh Resist +5% ||Gira Resist +5% ||Swoosh Damae +3% ||Atk +5 ||Max MP +5 ||Def+7 |
|Blackstorm Leggings ||Def +72 ||Dazzle Resist +5% ||Max HP +5 ||Attack Resist +10% ||Gigantess Resist +10% ||Swoosh Damage +3% ||Dazzle Resist +5% ||Atk +5 ||Max MP +5 ||Def +7 |
Stay safe and be healthy, DQ Walkers!
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2020.06.10 15:00 TheFourthReplica Slime Carnival, Chapter 3 [Event Infothread]
Welcome back, walkers, to another episode of... oh wait, wrong channel. Ahem. Hello, DQ Walkers. Today the penultimate Slime Carnival update has been released, and with it, we get into the actual Carnival! This event ends 25 June
Chapter 3's got the big story updates, check below to see the details! (Boss information to come soon)
|Story Name ||Boss ||Level |
|The Carnival's Big Opening ||No Boss ||XX |
|Darkslimes Again?! ||No Boss ||17 |
|The Carnival's Not Over Yet...! ||Boss: Dark Kingslime ||19 |
Upon completing 3-2, you'll unlock new items in the shop. Mostly these are the cheap bait bags, but some new skills from the new equipment (see below) made their way in there.
With this update the last two slime are now available for recruitment: Stackbi
, the Slimestack that increases your defence against the Besking, and Dragoro
, the Drakeslime that increases your attack against the Besking.
What Besking, you ask? Well, it's the megalite of the week! Weak to Io, Dein, and Boulderbringer, because that Boulderbringer weakness is STILL a thing. The Besking is unlocked after completing 3-3.
Gacha this week... got a healer's weapon? Cuz I sure don't, even after 60k jewels in after Satori's staff... Not that I'm still salty. Nope. Not me.
|Weapon ||Stats ||1 ||10 ||15 ||20 ||30 ||35 ||45 ||50 |
|Sainted Staff ||Mending +96, Atk +76, Magic +27 ||Mending +5, Yellow Dragon Attack: Zombie 200%, else 120% ||Dedazzle: Removes Dazzle from all allies ||Kawoosh: AoE Swoosh Damage ||Kasap: AoE Sap (lowers defence) ||Saint's Blessing: AoE Heal, can also cure Confusion ||HP Restored +10% ||Max MP +12 ||Mending +12 |
For the Revenge event, the Dark Kingslime returns. The recommended level is 55 Advanced. It is very strong and can attack up to twice per turn. It likes to spam debuffs, including speed down, interrupt, confusion, and defence down.
|Armor ||Stats ||1 ||8 ||10 ||15 ||18 ||20 ||23 ||25 |
|Sainted Tiara ||Def +52, Mending +18, Mag +7 ||Gira Resist +5% ||Slime Resist +5% ||MP Recovery +10% ||Swoosh Damage +5% ||Dazzle Chance +3% ||Mending +5 ||Max MP +5 ||Def +7 |
|Sainted Robe ||Def +74, Mending +13, Mag +5 ||Gira Resist +5% ||Slime Resist +5% ||Mending +5% ||Swoosh Damage +3% ||Dazzle Chance +3% ||Max MP +5 ||Max MP +5 ||Def +7 |
|Sainted Slacks ||Def +57, Mending +22, Mag +6 ||Swoosh Resist +5% ||Slime Resist +5% ||MP Recovery +10% ||Swoosh Damage +3% ||Dazzle Chance +5% ||Mag +5 ||Max MP +5 ||Def +7 |
The key strategy is to mitigate its DPS as much as possible using attack down skills (like Attack Attacker). It can also be "cheesed" a bit if you can blind it--much of its attacks are physical and susceptible to blind. You'll still want to get your buffs up, when possible: not all of its attacks are physical and still hurt quite a bit!
Most winning party comps have one to two healers, plus two DPS, mostly Rangers or Battle Masters.
Upon winning the fight, you will get the title I am the Evil Slime King.
Stay safe and stay healthy out there, DQ Walkers!
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2020.04.26 17:08 sugarcane_koko ''A SACRIFICE'', from Michael Gira's book of short stories ''The Consumer''.
The ground is a hard bone shell stretched flat over the desert like petrified hide. The surface is webbed with black hairline cracks leaking cool shadows up from a secret place beneath the earth into the clear white violence of the sun. They work shirtless, like two red ants toiling on a crust of salt, swinging their picks in wide careless arcs in a line that extends out from a fixed point in their stomachs, tethered by the tensed rope of their arms. The polished steel tips of their axes strain like missiles against their trajectory, shooting up from behind their bodies and sweeping over their heads in a parabolic curve that culminates stabbing into the desert with a brutal crunch, releasing a voluptuous suction sound like trapped vapors escaping. Every impact incites an involuntary grunt jerked up from their solar plexus as if they were two pagans drunk with lust, fucking dry holes in the hardened sand. They wouldn't be surprised if the ground gushed blood with each steel intrusion.
A golden fur of jeweled wasps hovers close to the ground in an electrified field, spread out level across the flats, animated and rustling in the parching wind like sulfurized heather.
As they work, the sweat dries on their skin and leaves rings of salt around their torsos in chalked, rippled strata, tracing time on their flesh. They stop at paced intervals and drink water from an old rusted can that smells like gasoline. Often they squirt wine from a gourd held high above their open fish-mouths, washing down greasy chunks of black opium, then return to their labor refreshed, stupefied and methodical, serenaded by the humming dream-psalms of the wasps rising and falling in intensity in response to the wind.
They pierce the crust in a straight course, gradually dislodging thick jagged slabs of desert like pieces of a giant puzzle they lever out of the path of the ditch with crowbars and pile along its edge as they continue clawing the wasted floor, extending a dark strip like carpet unfurling pointlessly out into the blank white plain. As they work, the wasps congregate in the freshly turned dirt behind them in a solemn procession, sucking the last memories of moisture from the exposed earth. Off in the distance, just above the steaming horizon, a red blotch the size of a point on a sheet of paper flutters with the rising heat. They aim their ditch at this point.
This morning when they were dropped off by the truck, the stars were smeared across the black dome above them in wide swathes like titanium paint spread by the dripping hands of a delirious prisoner in a solitary, lightless cell. The dawn swelled at the edge of the globe, a distant incandescent catastrophe, silhouetting the foreman as he pointed arbitrarily off into the blackness, his eyes squeezed into tight slits and his finger extending out from his arm like a blind man using his body as a compass to locate the source of an echoing sound. Neither of them could see much of anything beyond the white cotton shirts issued them by the contractor and their pale hands gripping the blond wood of the pick-handles before them, but they'd dug toward the general area the foreman had indicated. Then he'd driven off with the rest of the haggard crew, standing, hanging their arms over the wooden railing of the truck looking back at them grimly like prisoners or livestock in some future cannibal world.
The truck disappeared in a carnival of red taillights and cigarettes, levitating on the shimmering blue pool of headlights as it crept silently into the dark towards its multiple destinations of equally mindless and crushing labors. When the sun had risen enough to reveal detail in the emptiness, there sat the surveyor's flag dead on course exactly where the foreman had pointed. After a while, they removed their shirts and tied them around their waists, the caramel light of the early morning cooling and soothing their backs as they worked.
With no place to hide from the increasing intensity of the sun, and the boredom of just standing there intolerable, they advance sweating and groaning unconsciously, hacking and prying at the desert crust. Inching steadily towards the flag, their bodies struggle and grind against gravity and resistance, absorbing the heat without feeling as their insides begin to stew. Their minds pump out waves of ornately detailed sensation, fueled by the opium and the wine and the sun, sending them falling through layers of color and warmth that expand as liquid, withdraw, heat, then spread out through their bodies like the exploratory vines of a sexually omnivorous parasite rooted deep in the base of their stomachs, guiding magma streams of pleasure through arid veins and crackling nerves out into their half-numb extremities and fingers, which then tingle with current as if waking from sleep. Exposing the darker sand beneath the dry shell, they imagine they're revealing the course of a subterranean river, mirroring their path a hundred miles down, the ditch tracing the last faint breath of its rising humidity, the fresh moisture of the wound turning to powder quickly in the sun, the whiteness seeping into and replacing the darker sand like water soaking in a reversed negative film.
By the time the sun is directly overhead, they're badly burned but don't notice. They drink more water, wine, and inevitably ingest more opium to combat their growing fever, unaware that their skin is beginning to boil. Even the wasps disappear, hiding from the sun in their networks of tunnels beneath the ground. The silence is broken only by the sensual penetration of their picks sucking into the earth, their shallow breathing - quickened by the building heat - or the random occasional clang of a crowbar against the steel head of a pick, cracking off into the desert then falling to the ground, dull and lilted, defeated by the weight of the sun, the resonance of the sound swallowed up like a handclap in a padded room. Their noses and cheeks erupt with transparent blisters, shiny with crimson light exuded from the raw meat beneath the tender balloons of skin. Pink bubbles expand hugely from their shoulders and necks, wrinkling in complex patterns agitated by the wind. The hide on the backs of their hands rises up and an oily juice drains out where the skin lifts up, tearing away from the flesh. But they continue working shirtless, oblivious.
The Irishman throws down his pick and stands facing off into the desert as if he were bracing himself against an oncoming wave of white dust. His skin was previously like porcelain, totally without pigment, but now gleams viscid and ruby red against the flaring sand. He holds out his arm, sweeping over the barren panorama theatrically. His wiry long blond hair, his solid square jaw and sparkling blue eyes make him look like a scorched Viking about to let loose with a mirthful soliloquy, beached and alone, surveying the wasted shore laid out before him like a continent of nothing. He sings to it, an asthmatic wheeze issuing from his throat that seems to shock him as it hisses from his mouth. The sound is incinerated instantly by the sun.
"Way down, waaaaaaaay down, waaaaaaaaaay down ...."
Forgetting the words to the song, he lets it trail off. He sits down on the edge of the ditch staring at a blister on his hand, watching it rise in the heat.
The American lets his pick fall in the dust and looks at him. It dawns on him that his friend's skin looks like bacon.
"I think we better put our shirts on ... I wish we could get out of the sun." - the first words he's spoken since they were dropped off by the truck. He sounds like an old woman gurgling her last dying wish.
The American repeats himself, carefully articulating the words as if reading from an abstruse textbook. The Irishman is still looking at his hand, turning it over, comparing the pearly color of his palm each pad torn with perfectly round penny-sized blisters like cherry skins - to the gristly back of it.
"Yes ... we ... better ... get ... out ... of ... the ... sun. I don't think I know where I am."
The Amedcan walks over to him, leaving a low trail of chalk-colored dust hanging in his wake. His shadow darkens the Irishman so that he seems to be sitting huddled in an amber pouch cut out of the fabric of sunlight. They put on their shirts and drag their tools and the water and the gourd of wine over to the toolbox at the beginning of the ditch at the side of the melting black asphalt road. Their shirts cling to their blisters, some of which burst instantly with friction, blotching the thin white cotton with sticky fluid. The Irishman stands rotating slowly on the axis of his feet as if his head were a planet dislodged from its orbit - a world of vertiginously shifting planes punished by the relentless solar flood. He looks in both directions down the absurdly tiny black ribbon of road, an impotent scratched line on the face of the desert. He sees no sign of the truck returning.
"We-must-get-out-of-the-sun-now," he recites like a law of physics he learned somewhere in school, suddenly authoritative and coherent. He's the older one at 19, and he's assumed the role of protective older brother though he's only known the American a few weeks, having met him along the road just outside Istanbul. The American claims to be 18 but looks his true age of 15.
They overturn the toolbox, the size of a traveling trunk, emptying its contents beside the road. The tin sheeting riveted to the wooden box reflects the sun like a polished high-tech mirror, flashing random messages up into space. With the lid open, they prop the box upside down and at enough of an angle to allow them to sit crouched beneath it, hiding in the shade from the sun. The inside of the box smells like motor oil and cement and suntan lotion. Intermittent gusts of wind spray sand up under the lid into their mouths and eyes. They grind it between their teeth and wash it down with wine shot in hard sour jets at close range, swallowing more opium along with the sand.
They wait, the Irishman mumble-singing halfremembered fragments of current pop songs, as if they constituted a running voice-over narrative description of their predicament. The sound of his voice is hollow and dead beneath the box. They watch the sun moving slowly over the sparkling patch of sand just outside the grey shadows of their shelter. They nod in the enclosed heat like dying flowers, sitting cross-legged and hunched over like the limp bodies of two holy men deep in meditation in a portable cave as their souls fly out over the lifeless desert towards the water.
The foreman's palm slapping the box rousts them from sleep. It explodes in their dazed heads like steel doors slamming. They see his feet before them in the sand, the toes protruding from the plastic sandals huge and calloused, the cracked knuckles powdered with white dust.
"Idee-yotez! Allo! Allo! Come out play now! Iddeyotez!"
The foreman throws the box off them, revealing them for inspection to the sun, like two broiled game animals pulled from their trap in the earth, their features caricatured with red blister sacks as if a possessing demon were straining its fingers against the skin of their faces from within. The workers, penned in the back of the tn1ck, let out an "Ahhh" in unison like an audience overwhelmed with spectacle. The foreman stands above the two boys as they cringe in the light, hands on his hips, perfot·ming for the crew.
"You shtoopid two! Geddup now! Geddup! I tell you. Use de hads, wear de shirds, use de crame! Why-you-nod-lissen? I tell you!"
He points to the pile of tools in the sand. Mixed in with the sledges and hammers and crowbars are two grimy cotton hats, a wrinkled and flaking aluminum tube of sun cream, several sets of massive bakedhard work gloves, and even a few pairs of cheap scratched plastic sunglasses.
Tying this fresh information into their ongoing chain of hallucinations, they get up and each one takes a hat from the pile. They walk over to the truck, where they're helped up by the ragged workers. They hang from the rails along with the others, looking down at the enraged foreman. He stands beaming his disgust up at them and the entire crew. They look like a truckload of dusted lepers corralled for transport to a desolate stone valley off in the wilderness. They deflect the foreman's condemnation with the glazed unblinking eyes of exhausted cattle. The foreman kicks the sand, sending a hive of dust roving off into the desert. He gets into the cab of the truck and signals the driver to start the drive back to the gulf. He leaves the pile of tools where they lay beside the road - there's no one to steal them and he'll send another crew back here in the morning.
By the time they reach the gulf, the sun hangs low in the solid wall of sky, torching a white hole in the deepening blue just above the smooth sand hills that lead off into the Sinai. The water sits expanding out in a still lake, as if the sand had melted and flowed down filling the bay with liquid glass. The foreign workers climb down from the truck and congregate on the hot asphalt around the cab, waiting for the foreman to pay them for the day's work and to pick the laborers that can return tomorrow. Everyone is picked except the Irishman and the American.
"You two, you go home now," says the foreman, waving his arm out from the window like a farmer shooing some chickens away from his truck, hazing them off towards their countries, continents away.
The truck heads in towards the town, leaving the indigent crew on the road that ends at the edge of the beach. The rest of the crew wander off across the sand along the beach towards the vagrants' encampment, a scattering of homemade tents made from filthy sheets, torn t-shirts, and sun-bleached cardboard that sits like a small garbage dump at the base of the hills that feed down from the desert and empty in to the flat turquoise water of the gulf. They look like a sun-crazed pack of dog-men as they shuffle aimlessly away in the ankle-deep tides of glittering silicon. The sand quickly roasts their feet and sends them kicking weakly through the listless waves that feed quietly onto the shore. The skin of the foreign workers is brown leather and their hair and beards are matted with salt from their sweat and the white dust which forms a ghost patina on everything. Most of them are irremediably addicted to opium, though some manage to scrounge syringes and locate in the town the glassine packets that feed their heroin addiction.
The American and the Irishman walk in the opposite direction along the beach, towards the cafe that empties out from the vacant tourist hotel. Along the way, they stop to wade out into the tepid water. Metallic fish shaped like silver valentine hearts dart at the fluttering cloth of their submerged pant legs, pulsing rainbows as they attack. Sometimes a fish finds an exposed toe protruding from a sandal and bites it painlessly, almost playful, like a child's weak fingernail pinch.
As they wade out further into the water, their legs refract out like giant stilts spread at wide angles beneath the surface. The dust melts from their clothes and floats in a white cloud around them. Their boiled flesh stings in the salt but it feels good, antiseptic.
Eventually they stand with the water up to their necks. Their heads float like inflated balls on the silve1· surface as they look out across the dazzled sheet towards Aqaba, in the east, opposite the Sinai, nestled in the enfolding umber hills that cup it like a toy city in semitic hands, spilling it out towards the open mouth of the gulf. A single rope of smoke rises from its center, twisting and unraveling up into the utterly cloudless sky, now graduating from pale blue to luxurious purple as the sun sets into the scorched embankments gouged out of the Sinai, in the west.
They wade out of the water and sit on the beach, squeezing the last wine from the water-slicked gourd, flavored with juice leached from the leather. The air is still hot enough that by the time they reach the cafe their clothes are no longer dripping, just pleasantly damp. A German hippie, barely groomed and shaved enough to merit his job as waiter (though he sleeps in the encampment with the rest of the foreign workers, and is himself a junky), approaches them at their table at the edge of the concrete slab beneath the corrugated green plastic roofing. He sets their gear down beside them - two sleeping bags and a small duffle bag - and they pay him for watching it during the day. They wash down the last oily black pebbles of opium with lukewarm beer and sit watching the sun set and the color drain from the sky. The water changes from turquoise to velvet blue to mirror black, reflecting the lights of the tourist hotel like handfuls of stained glass fragments tossed onto an obsidian table, rimmed at the edges with a hem of phosphorescent white foam.
Later they lay on their sleeping bags on the beach, their scalded flesh glistening like pink salmon meat in the silver light of the stars. Each of them keeps a pocketknife open beside his head, in case of attack by predator junkies in their sleep. The Irishman is sleeping spread out, tlat on his back like a mummified corpse in a glass case waiting patiently to be lifted up to heaven on a stairway of moonlight. The American, awake with alternating waves of fear and fever, sees a black shape approaching along the sand. At first he's not sure if it exists or he's hallucinated it in the darkness, so he watches it without breathing, motionless, his knife in his hand as it creeps forward. It seems to be floating just above the ground, as if it were drawn forward on rails. As it gets closer, just a few feet away, he sees its red rat eyes.
"Hey! Hey!" he shouts at it, to sound threatening. It stops, looking at him, appraising. He gets up and runs towards it, scooping up handfuls of sand along the way. When he's about to overtake it, he throws both handfuls into its face. It disappears, shrinking into itself, a black melon-sized oval instantly reduced to a single kernel of evil that flies buzzing out over the gulf.
He returns to his bag and lays down. The fogged light of the stars rains down on the agonized planes of his skin, passing through him. He looks over at the Irishman - still sleeping, mouthing formless words in a comatose dream. The waves regurgitate a few yards down the beach from their feet, swallowed by the sand. The moon hovers full just above the black horizon line of the water, a murderer in garish clownface, watching, spraying glitter out its mouth across the mirror.
Sometime in the night, the American wakes to see a bonfire as big as a house burning down the beach off towards the vagrants' encampment. He clutches his knife in his fist, fmzen. Sparks swirl up like flocks of crazed miniature birds escaping from hell through a fissure opened in the earth, igniting as they funnel up into the vaulted blackness. Knots of fire explode like flung handfuls of flaming snakes spitting out from the infernal core. Shadow figures stand in a circle staring into the flames, chanting and shouting drunkenly. A phlegm-throated chorus unravels circular melodies, muffled by the velvet cloak of darkness encroaching around the perimeters of the glow. The song evokes a celebration, but also seems to auger a final malevolence, a sacrifice.
Squatting at the edge of the banks leading down to the beach, just outside the circle of light, the leader of the proceedings looks down with the reflective ebony eyes of a stallion. Its human torso grows out from the body of a bull. Its face is a human mask, as if the peeled and dried skin of a corpse were stretched across the frame of its skull. The eyes drink in the light of the fire as if it were gorging itself at a fountain of blood. The mouth is torn into a smile, the cavern entrance that leads down to the black cisterns in its insides. The American feels himself drawn into its mouth, flung down into the pit of its guts where he screams, muted and hopeless. He drifts in and out of sleep, his knife ready in case they come for him. Once he wakes to see the creature pointing towards him, its face lit with ruby light. But sleep protects him, and he lets his body fall through fever canyons flashing from hot to cold as he twists, dreamless.
He wakes in the first greys of morning, the fever broken, the light soaking up from behind the hills. If he strains his hearing, he can detect the last grains of the sound of the amplified call to prayers echoing across the water from Aqaba. The dimmed static of the waves frames the silence. He gets up and walks across the sand. It feels like a cool liquid between his toes.
When he gets to the spot where he'd hallucinated the fire, he's surprised to see that there actually is a smoldering black pit where he'd dreamed it, the sand disturbed around it as if by a crowd. He hurries back towards their place on the beach to wake his friend and show him.
For the first time since waking, he looks at the Irishman. Just beneath the chin, a neat red wedge has been carved into his neck, exposing the shiny interior meat of his throat to the light. Otherwise he lays there just as he had in sleep, flattened out on his back as if presented, like a specimen. The knife is gone from beside his head, stolen along with their bag.
The American looks at his friend for a while, memorizing, then rolls up his sleeping bag. He delicately pulls his shirt on over his blisters, then walks down the beach towards the road that leads north, where he waits at the stop for the bus that should arrive any minute.
Download the PDF here: https://www.reddit.com/swans/comments/8c4cfn/michael_gira_the_consumer_pdf/
Shoutout to the good man who originally uploaded it.
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2020.04.13 21:28 FrederickIBarbarossa A Guide to SWANS
A Guide to SWANS
Few people in modern times can claim to have undergone half as interesting a childhood as Michael Gira. Born in 1954 to a barely functional LA family, Gira experienced his parents’ alcoholism firsthand and often found himself on the wrong side of the law. Eager to distance himself from his awful set of circumstances, he relocated to Germany as a young teenager to spend live with distant relatives, having been attracted to Europe from a trip to Paris with his father. However, Gira’s restlessness saw him run away from home to attend a Belgian music festival, where performances by Yes, Pink Floyd, and Frank Zappa gave him food for musical thought. Finding himself just as miserable in his new surroundings, Gira ditched his relatives shortly thereafter in favor of hitchhiking across Europe, eventually being arrested in Israel for selling hashish. He spent over four months in a Jerusalem prison as a result, celebrating his sixteenth birthday behind bars. Upon his second release (the first time he had been let go, the police had him thrown back in jail), Gira returned to Los Angeles, where he enrolled in art school. It was while studying for his degree that the New York punk scene reached LA, and while the City of Angels held its own underground scene, hearing bands such as Suicide persuaded Gira that his future laid on the opposite side of the US. Packing up what little he had, he ditched his education for the Big Apple. While he initially found work on construction sites, he quickly managed to ingratiate himself to the newest emerging scene in the city- no wave. Through utilizing unorthodox guitar tunings, eschewing traditional song structure, and stripping melody down to nearly pure noise, the highly experimental genre eventually supplanted the punk sound of the late 70s in NYC, and along with his newfound friend Thurston Moore, Gira has jumped to the forefront. After noodling around with contemporaries in the scene and even dating Madonna for a short time, Gira formed Swans in early 1982, choosing the name because of swans’ conflicting qualities of majestic beauty and terrifying aggression. While original bassist Moore would soon leave to focus on leading another key no wave band, the famous and highly influential Sonic Youth, Swans would go on to cut a unique pathway through modern music, often changing personnel and genres while creating some of the most uniquely powerful music known to man. Gira has been at the center of it all, a colossus of a man in the eye of his own storm; as Swans’ main creative force and only permanent member, the vast majority of the band’s output can be traced directly back to him. The following twenty-two tracks are aimed at providing a smattering of Swans’ versatile work across their long and storied career, along with information that chronologizes their musical journey.
1. Big Strong Boss (Filth, 1983)
Swans’ debut self-titled EP
was released in 1982, featuring both blistering repetitive noise and a furious cacophony of saxophone. The sound was admittedly unrefined, even for the infamously unpolished no wave releases of the day, but Gira and co. had gotten their act together by the time of their debut LP, Filth
. The nine tracks on Filth are abrasive yet well-paced, with a largely primal feeling enhanced by the chaotic drums and Gira’s howls on sex, power, death, licentiousness, and violence, themes which would follow the band throughout its career. 1984’s Cop
largely follows this formula, but the songs are slightly longer and more drawn-out for added effect, with the use of a chain on a table for percussive purposes especially notable.
2. I Crawled (Young God, 1984)
The Young God EP
famously includes a message indicating the record is meant to be played at maximum volume, although doing so is at the listener’s own peril. Indeed, Swans’ live shows at this time were often shut down by the police because of their incredible loudness, although Gira’s penchant for abusing his audiences (such as jumping into the crowd to assault those he saw headbanging, a practice he detested) certainly didn’t help the band’s cause. This period of time is widely recognized as Swans’ most brutal and abrasive, with the incredibly dark and violent lyricism combining with grinding atonal guitar parts to create an agonizing yet strangely cathartic experience. Such harshness, however, would fail to dissuade Kurt Cobain from listing it as one of his fifty favorite albums.
3. Time Is Money (Bastard) (Time Is Money (Bastard), 1986) The above single
, released in January of 1986 and later added on CD releases to the end of next month’s LP Greed
, struck an unprecedented positive chord with the music press, who likened the track to a death-disco piledriver of industrial noise rock. While the song’s looseness contrasts the slab-like quality of its predecessors, the uncompromising nature of its lyrics tied it firmly to the Swans litany, while also foreshadowing the band’s prolific 1986 to come.
4. Coward (Holy Money, 1986)
The unholy twins Greed and Holy Money
, both centered around — you guessed it — human greed, cemented Swans as one of the most intriguing no wave bands left (of which, to be fair, there were precious few). With the slightest hint of a melody present in some of these tracks, Swans had just begun on their flight from the scene’s jarring textures, though the industrial and noise-rock comparisons continued throughout this transitional era. With new addition Jarboe joining the group to play keyboard and to provide backing (and at times lead) vocals, Swans were becoming more and more complex, and they would go on to release the A Screw EP
and their first two live albums, Public Castration Is a Good Idea
and Real Love
, all by the end of ‘86. While Real Love was only available as an official bootleg for its first ten years, thus limiting its renown, Public Castration in particular has become famous for its incredibly drawn-out, harsh, and abrasive renditions of earlier songs, making it a popular choice of listeners more attuned with Swans’ darkest material.
5. New Mind (Children of God, 1987)
By the time of 1987’s Children of God
, Swans were setting out on their long trek away from the no wave scene that birthed them, their first crucial evolution as a band truly for the ages. Jarboe’s increasing presence in he band saw her take more prominent vocal roles, both lead and backup. The sinister tone of previous releases is retained in some tracks, such as the opener New Mind
and the driving Sex, God, Sex
, as Gira lyrical dabbled in religious themes.
6. Blood and Honey (Children of God, 1987)
The other side to Children of God, however, sees a radical departure from earlier sounds with acoustic guitar and eerie string sections, a huge departure from the band’s earlier work. These steps marked Swans’ first true transformation, with the acoustic elements found particularly on the album’s latter half becoming mainstays for the next portion of the band’s career. Spurred on by Children of God’s effusive critical acclaim, Swans released an EP the next year featuring twin covers of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart
, which garnered major-label attention due to it slipping into the U.K. singles charts at #85. With the releases of a new live Swans album (Feel Good Now
, 1988) and the first two albums from Gira and Jarboe’s solo project Skin (Blood, Women, Roses
, 1987 and Shame, Humility, Revenge
, 1988), further financial and critical success seemed to be on the way. Their departure from original label K.422 to Product, Inc. had marked a strategic shift in the band’s trajectory, and by signing with major label Uni, the stakes were beginning to ramp up. After life in the underground, Swans were ready to take over the world...
7. God Damn the Sun (The Burning World, 1989)
...only to find it was already burning. The new, mellower, acoustic-driven Swans failed to capture audiences in the way that their darker, more abrasive incarnation had. The Burning World
is a popular choice for the band’s worst album, and while its reputation is often too harsh on what is honestly a decent gothic folk album, most of the songs (barring the excellent God Damn the Sun
) and commercial performance of their major-label debut were ultimately disappointing. Dropped from the label after the record’s poor showing, Gira decided he would never again depend on outside record labels to handle future Swans releases, and he thus formed his own label: Young God Records, named after the 1984 EP. The 1990 releases of Anonymous Bodies in an Empty Room
(another early, abrasive live album), and Ten Songs for Another World
(the final album by Gira and Jarboe’s side project, now known as The World of Skin) saw Gira and co. attempt to rebound, with the latter representing Young God’s entrance into the music market.
8. Better Than You (White Light from the Mouth of Infinity, 1991)
On 1991’s White Light from the Mouth of Infinity
, Swans hoped to incorporate heaviness into the folkier sounds of their last album, attempting to find a precarious balance between the two conflicting styles of the group’s career. This time, their boldness paid off: White Light resurrected Swans’ critical standing while successfully blending acoustic elements with pummeling mêlées of sound and percussion. Opener Better Than You
portrays the interplay of these two mechanics to perfection, as later tracks such as Failure
display the moodiness evolving from latent folk influences.
9. Love Will Save You (White Light from the Mouth of Infinity, 1991)
Lyrically, Gira and Jarboe were moving away from the hyper-aggressive, outwardly violent material of Eighties Swans, instead maintaining their dark songwriting through songs on depression, betrayal, and anger. The motif of power survives in many tracks, even on the bitter and self-deprecating Love Will Save You
, yet the violence inherent in early Swans had decayed into solemn morbidity as the band’s direction gyrated. With Jarboe’s solo debut Thirteen Masks
and yet another live compilation in 1991’s Body to Body, Job to Job
, Swans maintained their prolific release schedule, and with yet another album ready from the same sessions as White Light, more was yet to come.
10. Amnesia (Love of Life, 1992) Love of Life
followed stylistically in its immediate predecessors’ footsteps, as pounding rhythms and sonic walls undercut Gira’s baritone and Jarboe’s wispy wailings. An important development, however, is present on this album: interspersed between many of the tracks are ambient interludes composed by Jarboe, all titled simply (- - -)
. This ambience hinted at musical pathways yet to come, but at the time the focus was more on the individual songwriting, which had become ever more bleak. Amnesia
, later released as a singlesque EP in the style of Love Will Tear Us Apart, distills the atmosphere on Love of Life into a single track, paradoxically condensed yet spacious, dark yet light. Yet another live album followed the album, the rare Omniscience
, yet after these releases Swans were quiet for over two years. Perhaps the work of running a record label had caught up to Gira, or perhaps Swans were holding onto material as they continued their brutal touring schedule; in any case, the band prepared for an absolutely monumental 1995.
11. I Am the Sun (The Great Annihilator, 1995)
The sun is one of Michael Gira’s most enduring lyrical themes: and embodiment of power, enlightenment, and destruction, the celestial body perfectly fits Swans’ frequent foci of love and violence. I Am the Sun
is perhaps the purest form of this imagery, as Gira combines his desire for power, his self-loathing, and his contempt for the vices of humankind into three-and-a-half minutes of monolithic sound, ending with Jarboe’s fantastically creepy mantra of “I love everyone.” While Gira’s love for the fruits of his labor has always been apparent, the power with which he compiled 1995’s The Great Annihilator
is overwhelmingly forceful at its songs’ climaxes, such as on the driving and deep Mind/Body/Light/Sound
and the relentlessly bursting Alcohol the Seed
, and this track early on in the record is no exception.
12. The Great Annihilator (The Great Annihilator, 1995)
Interestingly enough, The Great Annihilator
is a celestial body itself: a gigantic black hole near the center of the universe that emits photons at an inconceivable rate and volume. The album that bears its name does such incredible power justice, as Swans had never before sounded as colossal, as evil, as terrifyingly unique. While popular influences are evident on songs such as Celebrity Lifestyle
and traditional song structures form most of The Great Annihilator, the lyrics indicate no interest in the mainstream whatsoever, as Gira’s morbid interest in serial killers, alcoholism, and abuse permeates the record’s darker edges. While The Great Annihilator remains one of Swans’ most accessible releases, it is truly a monstrous undertaking, demonstrating the band’s strengths with a completeness that had not been fully seen since Children of God. Its ideas permeate two further releases, as Gira recorded his sensational solo debut Drainland
in the same recording sessions along with Jarboe’s second record Sacrificial Cake
. Additionally, yet another live album in Kill the Child
was released in ‘95, which focused on the Children of God tour and was famously mastered as a single track to replicate a live atmosphere. Behind Swans’ incredible streak, however, cracks were beginning to show....
13. Helpless Child (Soundtracks for the Blind, 1996)
Swans’ early work, especially their live performances, garnered a fair amount of attention from the media, who seemed enraptured with the harsh aggressiveness displayed by the band. This stigma promptly followed them throughout their transformation into a different type of musical juggernaut, one finding its strength not through agitated brutality but through sheer heft. Disgusted at the constant press disconnect and feeling shoehorned creatively by his band’s previous limitations, Gira had privately resolved to dissolve Swans by the time 1996 came along. However, wishing to give the band a proper send-off, he compiled a massive body of material, far more experimental than Swans’ already unique and ambitious Nineties discography. This album was to be titled Soundtracks for the Blind
, as if the music to a film yet to exist, and it would hold the longest, deepest, most sonically eye-opening material Swans had theretofore created. Helpless Child
, while only three tracks in, is the centerpiece of the album, a stunning track consider by many early fans to be the band’s best ever. Originally released on the German-language EP Die Tür ist Zu
in early 1996, the song’s chilling lyrical passage and relentless waves of pure sonic power elevate it to the pantheon of the greatest songs of its decade.
14. The Sound (Soundtracks for the Blind, 1996)
At over two hours and twenty minutes, 1996’s Soundtracks for the Blind is Swans’ longest studio record, and particularly mind-bogglingly so for its era, even amidst a money-flooded music industry that was giving the green light for ever longer records to be released. Before the recording sessions for Soundtracks, Gira fell back in love with tape loops, a technique he had been using as far back as Filth. Unlike on previous albums, however, these loops would often take center stage, filling numerous ambient interludes much like those on Love of Life. These interludes, however, were far more developed and complex than their relatively short and simplistic predecessors, with mysterious song titles to boot. Additionally, Jarboe’s access to her father’s tapes, which he obtained while working at the FBI, allowed Swans to add uniquely scary vocal tracks to the already menacing dark ambience the loops provided. The interludes themselves make up roughly half of Soundtracks, with the other half made up of several mammoth songs that combine tape loops and pummeling guitar tones to create majestic and beautiful monsters of tracks. (The Sound
is one such song, with a twinkling vibraphone caressing a brooding two-chord rhythm reminiscent of the opening to Pink Floyd’s Time.) Soundtracks for the Blind, dropping the jaws of critics and listeners alike with its deep and churning complexity, instantly became Swans’ greatest and most famous album to date, establishing their myth for years to come.
15. Feel Happiness (Swans Are Dead, 1998)
Despite Soundtracks’ incredible critical acclaim, Gira’s decision on Swans’ future remained unchanged; considering the group all but creatively defunct, he decided that they would embark on one more tour before disbanding. In typical Swans fashion, they released a live album in 1998 to mark the band’s end. The obtusely named Swans Are Dead
doesn’t equivocate on the group’s future; Gira was moving to end discussion about possible reunions on his own (typically bleak) terms. Swans Are Dead, however, is far more well known as a little-known masterpiece, with its spot as the jewel in Swans’ live discography all but uncontested. Shining a light on the band’s tours in 1995 and 1997, the experimental tendencies of the group wrestle with primal brutality to once again create aural fireworks. The trappings of early post-rock are evident in some of the longer tracks on Swans Are Dead, with the foremost among them being the stunning opener Feel Happiness
, a track famously only ever recorded live. Even on this high note, however, Gira would not be budged. Swans really were dead, and his devotion to two new side projects, the fleeting, tape-loop oriented The Body Lovers/The Body Haters and the long-lasting, dark and folky Angels of Light, all but confirmed their demise. (The history and discography of Angels of Light, tangentially, are worth exploring on their own, with the reprisal of gothic folk themes leading them on an intriguing and fulfilling musical journey, but attempting to describe such a discography here would not do them the justice they well and truly deserve.)
16. No Thoughts/No Words (My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky, 2010)
Gira himself states that he received the impulse to reunite Swans in the mid-to-late 2000s; while playing a song with Angels of Light, the long and repetitive chords reminded him of some of the band’s pre-breakup material. The announcement that he was reviving the group still took critics and fans alike by surprise, though, as did the swiftness with which he assembled musicians to join him. Jarboe was noticeably absent, busy with her own music career; while she would return to add guest backing vocals in 2012, she never rejoined Swans full-time. (Norman Westberg, guitarist on every Swans record except for Love of Life, was the only carry-over from the previous Swans in terms of personnel other than Gira.) Eager for new material, the release of Gira’s wholly acoustic album I Am Not Insane
instead was yet another curveball, but the reason behind this release was soon revealed. With all Swans projects still effectively self-released through Young God Records, financial backing from a label was absent to fund the creation of new albums. Gira had instead chosen to release new material in the form of I Am Not Insane to fund the upcoming Swans studio release, an audience-centric funding agreement that the band has persevered with to this day. Eventually, the long-awaited My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky
was released in 2010 to general satisfaction. Swans’ new sound, it seemed, was bold and bluesy: many of the tracks on My Father incorporate typical blues progressions, and Gira in his early years had, after all, been sometimes compared to Howlin’ Wolf. (The later Swans track Just a Little Boy
would later forever memorialize this unique influence’s impact on him.) As the live album Live at Primavera Sound
recommenced the relentless release schedule Swans has maintained during the Nineties, it was clear that the band was here to stay. With Gira insisting that Swans were to be a creative tour de force once again (as opposed to a crotchety old legacy band), momentum was on Swans’ side, though few, of any, could have possibly projected just how high their upcoming career trajectory would be...
17. Lunacy (The Seer, 2012)
After the middling success of My Father, Gira announced a new Swans lineup was to play on upcoming works, hinting at a change in musical direction. Funded by a new kickstarter effort, 2012’s double live album We Rose from Tour Bed with the Sun in Our Head
, expectations for The Seer were cautiously positive, especially after hearing some early tracks played live, but then the album itself was released. The first thing people heard when commencing the record was opening track Lunacy
, a pulsing and relentless chord repetition breaking suddenly into a haunting vocal harmony arrangement, all the while building incredible amounts tension. The gloriously thunderous release of this tension later in the song marked a watershed moment for Swans, as at long last, they had arrived at the truly definitive manifestation of their sound: one so massive, so impossibly huge, that they could take on the world once again.
18. Avatar (The Seer, 2012)
At just under two hours, The Seer returns to Soundtracks’ mammoth lengths after My Father’s relatively conventional 44-minute run time. Despite this, not a minute on the album is wasted; while large repetitive sections make up much of some songs, the excitement they build is necessary in creating the singular atmosphere present on the record. The Seer is also haunting record, yet in a different way than Soundtracks; while its predecessor relied on eerie ambience, The Seer thrives on dark and deep textures contrasting creepily with tinkling bells, as a thick, penetrating fog might be compared to a brooding forest. Earning rave reviews, The Seer put Swans firmly on the musical map as they never had been before. With a cult fanbase building around the group’s material during their period of disbandment, interest was building in the experimental outfit, helped along by discussion led by rabid critics and Internet music aficionados. Their general consensus was that The Seer was a second peak for the band, and that Swans had reached their post-hiatus apex. If only they knew what was to come...
19. A Little God in My Hands (To Be Kind, 2014)
Perhaps it was their new fundraiser album, 2013 Not Here/Not Now
, that hinted at something truly great in the making, but Swans were slowly making larger and larger waves in the bastardized corner of the music industry they had made their own. The introduction of new music into their live sets had their audience members’ mouths watering, and greater anticipation surrounded their next project than anything the band had previously done. Largely free of the weight of expectation, Swans had been free to experiment and ind their own pathway throughout the years without much of a watchful eye from the media, but now they were sliding into a slightly unfamiliar role of being hyped up. The coming record, however, would subvert these expectations, shatter them, and render virtually all comparison to other music as useless. To Be Kind
is, put simply, a modern masterpiece. Its sonic depths are indescribably profound, its ferocity frightening, its vastness all but infinite. The lineup Gira had assembled around him (Westberg on electric guitar, Christopher Pravdica on bass, Christoph Hahn on steel guitar, and Thor Harris and Phil Puleo as percussionists) was capable of titanic grooves and pulses, yet still was capable of capturing and conjuring fragile beauty around the surrounding thunder. The tracks on To Be Kind often display this herculean balancing act with the ruthlessness and brutality of early Swans releases; however, the unfathomable heft on display makes the tension-and-release mechanics of many of this album’s driving repetition all the more mind-blowing. The sinister blues-inflected A Little God in my Hands
is an early highlight of an already stellar record, with Mingusesque horns punctuating the thrills of one of the most straight-up evil grooves known to mankind.
20. Oxygen (To Be Kind, 2014)
Michael Gira initially debuted Oxygen
as an eerie acoustic demo on I Am Not Insane. On To Be Kind, it is reborn as a musical tour de force more than on par with its father. Regarded by some as Swans’ greatest-ever track, the track’s relentless power and boundless energy propel it through eight minutes of musical mayhem, both rigidly structured and strangely loose. Gira’s vocals are up there with his best, with a menagerie of bellows, yips, and bloodcurdling screams punctuating the sinister rhythms laid down by Harris and Puleo. Oxygen
, released as a single/EP with various alternate versions later in 2014, is a true career highlight for Swans, one that any entry-level fan would be foolish to miss.
To Be Kind catapulted Swans into the spotlight they had long chosen to forsake. Perhaps the 2010s’ most experimental Top 40 album, the massive outpouring of critical acclaim for their music and the development of a devoted Internet fanbase brought further notoriety to the band’s career. Even as the band’s next full album was announced to be the band’s last with their then-current lineup, expectations and demand were sky-high for new work, even as Gira explored a slightly new sound in the studio. Swans were finally on top of the world.
21. Cloud of Forgetting (The Glowing Man, 2016) The Gate
, released in 2015 as the next Swans fundraiser album, contained (as others had) live material hinting at the songs on upcoming releases, and appetite for the studio versions of some of these tracks was palpable. The Glowing Man
would continue to subvert expectations, with its meditative sound and gradual builds supplanting the grooves and riffs of its two older brothers, yet praise aplenty would still come its way. Notable for its continuation of the numerous long tracks Swans had become known for, this record sees the band become a different kind of huge: where The Seer has an earthy atmosphere and To Be Kind conjures the feeling of a bold, swirling ocean, The Glowing Man is vast and astral in its production and sonic twinkling. This is not to say, of course, that the band had lost any of their edge, as indeed the chaotic portions on this album rival the band’s most thunderous. The Glowing Man rather possesses a sense of finality, what with an established era of the band’s career ending and a new chapter beginning. The colossal live album Deliquescence
, Swans’ longest record to date, records this journey with the 45-minute epic The Knot
, and with this final statement they moved forward. Gira’s famous never-look-over-your-shoulder attitude with regards to his music means that this incredible and indelible sound may never be fully revisited, but it nevertheless stands as a proud testament to experimental music in general as one of the greatest album trios ever recorded.
- What Is This? (Leaving Meaning, 2019)
Reemerging in 2019 with a new fundraiser album in What Is This?
and a new single in It’s Coming It’s Real
, Swans surfaced from their personnel change with more of a drop than a splash. They’d had their moment as the critical toast of the music industry, but now the hype surrounding their previous few releases had died down somewhat. Leaving Meaning
, however, proved that the band was very much still in their second prime. With only one song breaking the 12-minute barrier (and by a mere second or two at that), half-hour colossi were clearly off the menu; Swans instead went for a hybridization in sound that combined the meditations of The Glowing Man with Angels of Light-era acoustic guitar. The inflections in Gira’s trademark deep voice are laid bare on Leaving Meaning’s twelve tracks, with his surprising range offering the insight of a man sometimes tired in mind but never in body. Anna von Hausswolff’s vocals contrast gorgeously with Gira’s on tracks such as the penultimate What Is This?
, as the pensive lyricism and swirlingly wistful soundscape create something fearful yet gorgeous. It is perhaps this duality that has defined Swans throughout their career: the ability to create music of unparalleled depth, both terrifyingly beautiful and beautifully terrifying.
Biases of the author:
It’s clear that I have devoted a bit more time to some records than others on this 22-song odyssey, and while part of that comes from my desire to represent albums that are consensually regarded as Swans’ finest or most representative, I am ultimately no more impartial than any other fan of this incredible band. Cop, for example, is not represented on this guide, yet there are members of the community who have a great appreciation for this excellent early record. If you are new to the community, never feel as though you can’t vocalize your opinions here or ask for recommendations on what to listen to, as there are as many opinions on and pathways through the Swans discography as there are partakers.
In case you want to know my preferences amongst their music, or perhaps simply want to be aware of how I might be unconsciously biased in telling the story of Swans, here are my five favorite albums of theirs in chronological order: White Light from the Mouth of Infinity
(1991) The Great Annihilator
(1995) Soundtracks for the Blind
(1996) To Be Kind
(2014) The Glowing Man
And my five favorite Swans tracks, also chronological: The Great Annihilator
(The Great Annihilator, 1995) Helpless Child
(Soundtracks for the Blind, 1996) Feel Happiness
(Swans Are Dead, 1998) Screen Shot
(To Be Kind, 2014) The Glowing Man
(The Glowing Man, 2017)
Note: I’ve also left out songs over twenty minutes from the guide, as they can be overwhelming for some not initially acclimated to longer tracks. Even with a previous history of enjoying progressive rock, I struggled to make my way through the 34-minute behemoth Bring the Sun/Toussaint l’Ouverture the first time I heard it.
Notes about Swans live:
Swans are renowned as one of the loudest live acts around, and have been recognized as such for some time. Ear protection is thus strongly encouraged when attending one of their concerts. While the days of Gira physical assaulting headbangers in the audience are all but over, it’s probably still not a good idea to headbang to songs as well.
Swans rarely ever play music not from their most recent album or two, so their setlist for a current concert would most likely be Leaving Meaning-heavy, with perhaps a track or two from one of the preceding three albums. Coward (from Holy Money) has been the lone exception to this rule, although it’s still not played frequently.
Key to the guide: Bold
indicates the first mention of an album or EP Italics
indicate the first mention of a song
By all means free to fact-check this guide in case I made a mistake during my research, as while I tried my best to be comprehensive, it’s entirely plausible that one or two minor details could’ve slipped through the cracks. I apologize as well for any spelling errors that might have eluded my inspection; my spell-check, for one, seems to derive pleasure in changing ‘Gira’ to ‘Gita’ at every possible opportunity.
I hope you enjoy this guide!
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2019.06.13 07:52 _Shadow_Moses_ The Progression of a Swans Song Over Time - Analyzing 5 different version of Coward
Coward is without a doubt my favourite Swans song from that punishing industrial part of their discography (before Children of God). That groove is addictive
, and the tortured non-verbal screams of a man begging for pain is a catchier hook than people give it credit for. Because I had nothing better to do, and have already accumulated the knowledge over a great deal of time, I decided to analyze and rank all of the distinctly different versions of Coward I could find in order to better understand what I love about the song and to procrastinate. For this list, I will be ranking the versions from Holy Money, Public Castration Is A Good Idea, Real Love
as well as live post-reunion performances from 2012 and 2013. If there are others I've missed, let me know and I'll add them. In the meantime...
I'm a coward.
Put your knife in me. HOLY MONEY
It should be no surprise that the studio version of this piece pales in comparison to what would be achieved in a live setting, but that's definitely the case here. That addicting groove is there, although it seems to be missing the pummeled bass chords that would appear later and lacks a lot of the sheer force that it has in other versions. An interesting decision was made here to have to separate vocal lines at the same time, one with Gira screaming, farther back in the mix, and one with him whispering made much more prominent. This sounds vaguely schizophrenic to me, as if the character of the song's primal urges are embodied by that voice in his head while he himself just calmly begs to be punished further. As interesting as that is, the later decision to separate both vocal parts into two distinct parts was the right one (in my opinion), as it creates a clearer dynamic shift and gives a song that does the same thing for like 8 minutes something to keep you engaged, cause to be perfectly honest this version kind of lost me 3.5 minutes or so in. PUBLIC CASTRATION IS A GOOD IDEA
In my opinion, this is the crown jewel of early Swans work. The band is very reserved here,and builds that uncomfortable atmosphere of dread right from the get-go. That groove is slowed to a painful crawl, and Gira absolutely nails the vocal performance. The weak, tortured "stick a knife in me... stick a knife..."
sounds like the deranged pleas of a masochist - the titular Coward - and the bouts of non-verbal shouts sound like the violent, euphoric outbursts of this character embracing their death. Absolute bopper of a tune. The interesting distinction here that steps it up a level from the studio version, is that decision to separate the whispered bits from the SHAHs, OOOOOHHHs and AAAAAAAGHGHGHs. It effectively creates distinctive quiet vs. loud parts for a beginning, middle and end (almost a verse-chorus-verse structure) that the studio version lacked, and makes for a far more engaging - and punishing - listening experience. Spoiler alert, this is my personal favourite, but there is another that comes close. REAL LOVE
It's interesting how the song seems to have evolved on the exact same tour. The band plays the exact same as on the PCIAGI version, but the arrangement was markedly shorter at this point. Instead of whispescream/whispescream it's only whispescream. Additionally, the mixing of Gira's voice is slightly worse than on PCIAGI - it seems to me his vocal may be a tad harder compressed. Here his whispers are much too prominent to have that same weakness, and his shouts lack enough contrast to be as powerful as they are on PCIAGI. Although this may have just been a weaker performance from Gira, who knows. All of this combined makes for a significantly less impactful performance than what would come later on the same tour, but is interesting when viewed in context between the studio version and PCIAGI. POST REUNION 2012
Here we see the new (at the time) band's take on the classic. This seems to combine some elements from multiple interpretations - we have the studio version's faster tempo and something resembling the PCIAGI arrangement. I think this version is effective, but otherwise unremarkable. It doesn't really do anything new, but I wouldn't call it a bad performance. I have very little else to say about this version, so I'll move on. POST REUNION 2013
A year prior they were performing what seems to be a faithful recreation of an older classic, whereas here we see the band boldly present their own
take on the piece. This version is significantly more violent and chaotic throughout, eschewing the notion of quiet/loud in favour of loud/louder, in a way that only this lineup could pull off. The whole performance is filled with unrelenting noise, and is made even more crowded by the addition of the delay on Gira's shouted vocal - which I would go as far as saying is the secret sauce that really elevates this version. That delay turning on is an event that takes things up a notch further and saves it from the problem of the studio version, where the song doesn't really keep you engaged because of it's doing one thing the entire time. You may say "but u/Shadow_Moses
, it's fucking early Swans their entire sound is based around doing the same thing for an entire song", and you would be correct, but it's the little arrangement tricks like the delay or the whispers that make sure the song is going somewhere instead of just droning on. Of course I do love a good drone, but I digress. EDIT:
Bonus round: YOUR GAME
pointed out to me, this appears to be the earliest version of what would later become Coward. Your Game
opens with a great big wave of guitar noise, with the lyrics "PUT YOUR KNIFE IN ME, WALK AWAY! WALK AWAY! WORTHLESS! I'M WORTHLESS!". It's interesting how the lines are delivered here, violently ejected at the top of Gira's lungs. It's as if the Coward has finally reached his moment of ultimate satisfaction, his climax. It speaks to the Gira's strength as a lyricist and performer that just the repetition of those few lines can tell such a vivid story, and it was definitely the right call to revisit that pretty little poem. It works great as a provocative opener, but as we can see it had a lot more potential. RANKING & CONCLUSION
Ultimately, I would personally rank as follows, from worst to best:
- Real Love
- Holy Money
- Post Reunion 2012
- Post Reunion 2013
- Public Castration Is a Good Idea
While the 2013 version is a strong competitor, and I could see someone preferring it, the slow, brutalized crawl of PCIAGI's version has to be my personal favourite for the sense of atmosphere and dread that it creates, which seems to get lost (for me, personally) with a faster tempo.
Feel free to post your own rankings below, or to stick your knife in me. Please, I'm worthless.
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2018.09.11 06:54 cubekwing Weekly Guide for Newbies (Week 07): Drunk on Poison
This section is a very brief summary for noobs of the following guide, as it is pointed out that the guide may have too much info for noobs to absorb. BEWARE, summarization loses details and case analysis so applicability is not guaranteed. Main Prority
: Swap and farm Salazzle’s Shot Out to SL4 > Farm coins to provide a full-item run in Manetric Competition > Farm Salazzle to SL5 > Farm coins to provide farming Toxapex to SL4 > Progress Gira-A EB to Lv100 > Farm Toxapex to SL5 Other Good Pokemon
: Dialga, Raichu (winking)
Once-a-Day has good rewards to use a Great Ball on under Super Catch Rate.
General Information This guide is written for newbies in terms of their priority in weekly events. In the past it was commented under the weekly rotation thread but it has been posted weekly from Week 1 of this rotation.
You can find information of all events (including the yearly ones) in the event stage wiki page.
You can refer to threads of Escalation Battle and Competition for strat and stage info. This is the old post of last rotation. We now have automated new weekly event posts. You can also refer to the new ones for latest team recommendations.
For farming recommendation by kodiakblackout please refer to his farming tier ranking of all event farming. You can also find his detailed guide from the links he provides in the sheet.
I’ve also made a list of Main/Ex Stage Notable Pokemon. Newbies not participating events can use your hearts to catch some main stage good pokemon mentioned here.
Disclaimer By newbies I mean gamers who don't have many invested useful pokemon, they are mostly before Main Stage 500, probably around 300-400. If you are before Stage 200, you may be too new to fully follow the priority list. You can just catch some pokemon I mention and go back to advance you Main Stage first.
The following priority list will be based on unfarmed+unswapped pokemon unless otherwise stated. While pokemon mentioned here may be useful for some of you. The cost efficiency is at your own discretion because some stages may be very difficult for newbies without items. Early gamers can skip other pokemon, and also skip those Tier 3 or below pokemon with a difficult stage if you are low at coin level.
In the first part of this guide I list some priority things you should do this week, which will benefit newbies in both short and long term. In the second part I list some pokemon you can consider catching this week.
Some farming of non Ultra Challenge will be considered in tier ranking but tier for only catching will also be mentioned. If your roster is still too weak to farm things, just catch some pokemon I mention here to get some short-term boost of your roster. In the long run, however, you still have to farm/invest in useful pokemon skills suggested by Raise Max Level guide to gradually become a mid-game player.
Priority List Hi Newbies! This week features the farming stages of two good Poison type pokemon. You may wonder how Poison type is important when it is super effective to only two types, but gradually you should get rid of the idea of measuring usefulness by counting super effectives. Types are not born equal – for example, out of 18 types, Grass covers 1/10 of all available pokemon and Fairy has 2 Escalations out of 14. With that regard, it is safe to say that Poison will provide some crucial coverage in your roster despite its limited super effectives.
The most important thing for you this week is to farm Salazzle’s Shot Out skill (you need a skill swapper for the skill). As a second best skill in this game (and THE best during mid-game), Shot Out offers consistent burst coverage to stages regardless of disruption type (even if there are no non-supports disrupted, you can leave a blank slot in your team to force in a non-support). Being a Poison type, as I said in the opening, Salazzle can offer help in those numerous Grass stages and two Fairy Escalations (and one competition). Salazzle has 60 Base Power and 125 Max Power. Its ok base power allows it to be useful for newbies without much level investment, and its good max power makes it the strongest farmable Shot Out user against Grass and Fairy. It needs a skill swapper to have Shot Out skill, so hopefully you have at least one in your stock, or you can pursue one from the escalation. If you don’t swap Salazzle (say, you don’t have a swapper, or you cannot beat the stage), its Poison skill is still worthwhile (Tier 2) to farm (although we usually use the weaker option – Gulpin so that Salazzle can have its Shot Out), but you’d better farm its Shot Out in next rotation anyway. If you don’t put any farming into Salazzle, leaving it with Skill Level 1 Poison, it is still a Tier 3 pokemon with an inconsistent but useful skill.
A new coin-trapping competition arrives. Mega Manectric competition features availability of Complexity-1, meaning that every full-item run in this comp will cost you an arm. In general, competitions with Complexity-1 are friendly for newbies since many veterans don’t bother to pay that many coins for the game-changing Complexity-1 item, providing noobs a precious opportunity to get a high rank. Some very new noobs, however, may find this competition difficult since we don’t have many good Ground options in early main stages, so for these players be prepared to land on E-Rank even after paying full-item. Mega Manectric is a mostly useless mega since in early stages we have Mega Ampharos which is a little faster, while in late stages we simply use tapper mega anyway.
The unrewarding escalation, Giratina (Altered), is still present. After catching Giratina-A, which is an ok Ghost pokemon for newbies, the only possible reason for you to advance this battle is to get the skill swapper at Lv100. Other than that, doing this escalation is cost-inefficient.
For one chance a day, Cosmog will show up offering skill and experience boosters. The chances for rewards are pretty high, so catching it sooner would be better. Use a Great Ball on it if it is under Super Catch Rate.
On Sept 15-17 we will have Mid-Month Challenge returning. Remember to play the free attempt for those delicious Raise Max Levels, large cookies and skill swapper. Unlocking further attempts is not recommended, unless you have enough jewels to aim for the two large cookies, even then the expected return is mediocre.
Other event pokemons early gamers can pay special attention to catch includes:
Even for completionist sake, you should keep in mind that if you ever want to catch'em all, you won't likely be able to finish this game in two rotations. As a result, you should learn to prioritise, leave those useless (or too expensive) pokemon to collect next time when they are around, and use your precious hearts on further advancing EBs or main stages.
- Tier 1: Highly Recommended
Toxapex: This 60 Base Power Poison pokemon has its original skill being Barrier Shot. Maxing with 120 power, it is the strongest farmable Barrier Shot user in its coverage, not to mention that it can benefit from Poisoned status. The stage is coin-based so you can farm it and Salazzle at the same time. If you do not farm it, drop it to Tier 3 as a potential barrier basher for Fairy stages.
Dialga: 80 Base Power Steel pokemon with Block Smash+. It is the strongest block smasher in all its super effective coverage. In the long run, its high potential Attack Power (145) makes it still usable as beatstick in a Steel team.
- Tier 2: A Good Complement to Your Roster
Raichu (winking) from Safari: 60 Base Power Electric with Rock Break+. It is the strongest rock breaker in its coverage despite its mediocre power. For newbies, rocks are rarely a bug problem so it is actually at the bottom of Tier 2.
- Tier 3: Functional Support that is Overshadowed by Some Other Options or Too Niche
Kyurem (White): 90 Base Power Dragon pokemon with Eject++. Dragon type only has itself as the only super effective type so the coverage of Kyurem-W is very limited. Nevertheless, noobs might use it in different Dragon Escalations – although the help may not be too great, and we have the slightly inferior option – Goodra, which is much easier to obtain. In the long run, Kyurem-W is famous for its 150 Max Power and the swapped Barrier Shot skill, making it a beast in many escalations. The stage, however, is too difficult for newbies to worry about farming so you should just leave it with Eject++.
Lycanroc: 60 Base Power Rock Combo. This combo boosting skill has 2x multiplier, unsatisfying proc rate, and no status to further boost its damage. As a result, it is only used by noobs without a skill invested Typeless Combo (like Zygarde-50, Hoopa-U, even if they are neutral typing). And even then, for Bug/Ice we also have Pyre as a better skill.
Chikorita (winking): 50 Base Power Grass Barrier Bash+. Two weeks from now we will have Palkia which is a much stronger barrier basher for Ground/Rock stages, and eight weeks from now we have DizzyChu with Barrier Bash++ skill and same AP. Nevertheless, it can still be of temporary usage.
- Tier 4: Could Improve Your Roster When It’s Still Too Weak
No pokemon this week belongs here
- Tier 5: NO Unless You Really Like and Invest in Them
Manectric from Safari: 60 Base Power Electric. Without investment, it is weaker than Ampharos and evolves more slowly. Even though with full investment it is faster than Ampharos, Ampharos can be swapped to Mega Boost so it is still a neck-to-neck competition. The argument for Manectric is that its mega effect is more predictable than Ampharos’ (Ampharos’ is two random zigzag lines while for Manectric the two zigzag lines are parallel), and its combo potential is slightly higher than Ampharos according to Simulation of Shuffle Calc. Neither Manectric or Ampharos should be candied until very late game (when you are just candying something for fun) so unless you really like Manectric, don’t bother with it.
Expected Heart/Coin Requirement for Farming Salazzle: 60-125 Poison, 1-heart stage, ~192 hearts to max Shot Out (SS needed)
Toxapex: 60-120 Poison, coin stage, ~74k coins to max Barrier Shot
Kyurem (White): 90-150 Dragon, 2-heart Ultra Challenge, ~296 hearts to max Barrier Shot (SS needed)
Farming Alarm of Coming 4 Weeks I list here some important farming stages upcoming that needs swapper, coins or a relatively decent team to tackle (of which I list the disruption type). For more stage info please refer to wikia
Week 8: No important farming is needy
Week 9: Noivern (Flying, Clouds+Rocks, Timed, SS), S-Metagross (Steel, Rocks+Blocks, 2-heart)
Week 10: S-Tyranitar (Dark, Blocks+Rocks+Trashmon, 65k coins), Diancie (Fairy, Blocks+Rocks+Barriers, Escalation, SS)
Week 11: Diancie (Fairy, Blocks+Rocks+Barriers, Escalation, SS)
Some General Noob Tips
- You get one free 15-minute No Heart Needed from Special Shop every week. Efficient usage includes: Safari hunting for rare pokemon, farming skill if you can beat it quickly, advancing escalation after catching, catching EX pokemon
- You get one free attempt for Victini each week, remember to use Exp x1.5 there.
- You get one free attempt for Weekend Meowth special stage each week, noob team may include M-Gengar, a blank slot, and two Eject+(+) supports. Remember to use Move+5 there.
- You get one free attempt for Eevee each week, don’t forget it! Make sure you don’t bring any pokemon with stalling skill to this stage cuz you might risk failing to beat Eevee.
- On mobile, Drop Rate Increase special item is your best way to spend a gem when there is a coin-based farming your wanna do. The item approximately doubles the drop rate so that any cost for farming will be halved in expectation. When using the item, remember to pair it with heart-based farming, Eevee and rewarding Once-a-Day stages. You can also pack two days of friend hearts, max regen hearts and wait for login bonus hearts to maximize the efficiency of using the item.
- We have a whole lot of Helpful Information about stage guides, coin&exp farming and mega usage tips. Those guides may be outdated in terms of best pokemon/skills in the game but most game mechanisms remain the same.
- Wikia is your best Pokemon Shuffle handbook. All pokemon skills and stages information can be found there.
- Veterans please feel free to add more!
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2016.09.26 05:47 Toa_Ignika Song Discussion: Killing for Company
Does anyone else think this song is not talked about enough? Personally I think it's the crown jewel of The Great Annihilator and probably my favorite Swans song period. The delusional haze captures (at least what I would imagine to be) the mental state of a serial killer romantically and beautifully. Jarboe's synths are absolutely on point in this song, guiding it from an immediately attention-grabbing intro to the literally perfect ending minutes, as are Gira's vocals and their moans at the end. I also love the volume and heave to the drums and the panning guitar sound. The regality of this song just totally captures my imagination and is everything I could want in a Swans song. But what are your thoughts? Are you as big of a fan of this song as I am? How do you think it fits into The Great Annihilator and Swans' discography?
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