Finally released in June on Earache following months of acrimonious disputes with Sony, Swansong once again takes the band into unexpected musical territory.
Much of the album's material comes closer to mainstream thrash metal, and, yes, even standard rock, than the earlier works. Generally, the songs follow possibly over-simplistic verse-chorus structures, and, in fact, several of the tracks feature a considerable emphasis on choruses, to the point where a typical verse structure isn't immediately discernible. Examples of this latter point are the first two tracks on the album, the brilliantly titled Keep on Rotting in the Free World, and Tomorrow Belongs to Nobody. (Incidentally, the latter also provides a prime example of the band's change towards a more traditional metal direction, as the main riff is reminiscent of such works as Overkill's Blood Money).
Lyrics are also simplified to an even greater extent than was seen previously, as commensurate with the change in musical direction. They continue to reflect on themes covered on the prior releases, but in a more direct manner than even those on Heartwork. Despite the diminished emphasis upon such previous Carcass staples as the once abundant plays on words (or words on play?), a number of puns and an impressive array of references are found to be concealed within the writing.
Although Swansong likely takes many listens to grow on the listener, it represents a fitting final work from a legendary band; a bleak epitaph, an apalogue so sad.