It’s been an extensive, sometimes hazardous road for Swans’ main man Michael Gira. From NYC’s early-‘80s no wave scene to this year’s 2-CD opus, The Seer, Gira has swung from uncompromising aural assaults (Sonic Youth were kindred spirits) to elegiac acoustics. 30 years on, Swans brings everything together into a galvanizing, occasionally pummeling two-hour project. This is music with a severe, sharp concentration which transmutes from industrial noise and dissonance to blissed-out electronics and endurance-elongated drones. “Mother of the World” has a Nick Cave-like darkness; the 32-minute title track careens with clattering percussion, abrasive repetition and thundering post rock. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O supplies an opulent voice to country-inclined “Song for a Warrior,” which shifts from waltz time to an iridescent instrumental bridge and then to a bleaker folk environment. The 23-minute blitzkrieg closer, “Apostate”, builds slowly but when the uproar hits and the band banshees into the void, there’s nearly an apocalyptic shockwave not easily forgotten.

Grade: B