"I tried to deal with what I guess you could call the inherent evil I've discovered in myself; excise that, use it as material."
Michael Gira is probably best known today for founding Young God Records and unleashing freak folk on an unsuspecting world. Before that he spent about 15 years fronting post-punk band Swans, releasing some of the most jarring, visceral music you’ll likely ever hear. When they broke up he formed the Angels of Light, a quieter, predominantly acoustic project with which he could explore his musical vision from a different perspective. While this album – their first – lacks the big lurching beats and screeching feedback soundscapes of Swans records, it maintains much of that band’s intensity, due in part to the rich, funereal arrangements, and Gira’s strong vocal performances, which are at times comforting and fatherly while at others distant and creepy. It’s a solid, well-written record, but long and emotionally draining; a remarkably cathartic listening experience that is just as likely to leave you feeling worn out and queasy if you’re not in the right mood.