Swans' Most Terrifying Songs

"A Fool," from Greed (1986)

When an album's first song is this devastating, you're in trouble. The repeated pair of echoing piano notes refresh and enhance the memory of old tragedies. "I'll believe in a lie, I'll believe in myself," Gira howls. For the first time, perhaps, he realizes how disgusting he really is. Now there's only one way to distinguish himself from himself, to forge a new identity. "I'll cut off my right hand, and stand in your shadow," he decides. Now his shadow has two hands, and he has only one. Is he a new person? Or is he just a fool with blood squirting from a spot where a hand used to be? (Note: The following version of "Fool" is the one from Holy Money, which is similar to the version on Greed.)

"Heaven," from Greed (1986)

"It's all right, we're in heaven," moans Gira. So that awful rumbling sound must be God, right? And those tormented screams must be angels, yes? Relax. You're safe now. (Run.)

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