The album contains versions of some songs that were performed live during Swans final tour, including "The Man With the Silver Tongue" and "Not Alone". The Michael Gira solo album Solo Recording at Home contains an outtake from the recordings session for this album, on the song "God's Servant".
Ned Raggett of Allmusic gave the album a positive review, stating: "No less than 19 musicians participated in the creation of New Mother, and the fact that Gira was able to synthesize their efforts and create such a powerful debut bodes well for his future efforts in this vein." He also wrote that the record "draws on a juxtaposition of lush '60s American and European pop orchestration." Jordan N. Mamone of CMJ also praised the album, writing: "While many of the Swans' attempts at levity sounded forced and gothic, the Angels of Light shine naturally, with poise and stunning clarity." He subsequently included the album in his "Top Ten Picks" list.