It marked a radical departure from the band's first full length, As the Flower Withers. Martin Powell's violin playing had become fully integrated into the band's sound, whilst vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe mixed death metalgrowls and grunts with the spoken word and an often plaintive singing voice. The first ("Sear Me MCMXCIII") and final ("Black God") tracks dispensed with electric guitar altogether, while the album was also far slower and longer than its predecessor. For these reasons, "Turn Loose the Swans" is often considered to be important in the development of the doom metal/death metal hybrid pioneered by My Dying Bride and fellow Peaceville bands Anathema and Paradise Lost.
Though far from straightforward, Aaron Stainthorpe's lyrics were much less complex than those employed on As the Flower Withers. He abstained from the use of non-English phrases, and explicitly addressed themes such as Christianity and lovelorn longing. "Black God" took its lyrics from the last eight lines of a poem called "Ah! The Shepherd's Mournful Fate" by the 18th century Scottish poet William Hamilton.
"Sear Me MCMXCIII" was the second in a trilogy of songs to bear the title, preceded by the doom-metal orientated "Sear Me" in 1992 and followed by "Sear Me III" in 1999, which is similar in style to the original, being a full band composition. The version on this album however, features only the vocals of Aaron Stainthorpe and the keyboards and violin of Martin Powell. It also features different lyrics to the other two versions.
A video was made for "The Songless Bird" which features slow motion footage of the band running through wilderness, at this stage becoming something of a tradition. The video can be found on "For Darkest Eyes".
A remix of "The Crown Of Sympathy" was featured on the band's third single, "I Am the Bloody Earth". This version of the song featured more echoing effects, a shorter outro and a heavy emphasis on Rick Miah's drum sound.
Rolling Stone (#681, 05/05/94) - "Turn Loose the Swans is Bram Stoker's Dracula for the ears – diving into melodrama with grace and making that aspect of life seem the only part worth living. My Dying Bride take a sickly view of traditional orchestration, coupling it with Aaron's wounded-and-pissed animal groans and growls. Poison line each precious flower petal, as if the band were Laura Ashley's evil twin. Disconsolate guitars and funereal passion – in short, music all too susceptible to adjectives but compelling nonetheless."