Swans | The Great Annihilator | ReviewThe Great Annihilator is hardly a pleasant listen. The song "In" begins The Great Annihilator with a torrential hurricane of percussion, which varies from bright clangs to thunderous booms. A howling wind picks up in the middle of the cacophony and the nightmare music fades out, leaving only a toddler's chuckle on an insane loop of artificial happiness.
"I Am The Sun," which follows, pounds into the innocent laugh, smashing the virtuous voice into oblivion. "And I am the sun," sings Michael Gira in his bombastic baritone. "I rise above the world /And when the lights go out/I kill another child."
Jarboe, Gira's counterpart, offers up her voice, layered into a monotonous chant. She barks the words "I love everyone," giving the song a sense of ritual sacrifice. Her voice can be viciously vile on one song and sensuously sweet on another; "Warm" is such an occasion, a somber yet tranquil moment in the middle of the disc.
The Great Annihilator is hardly a pleasant listen. It isn't the accessible mope-rock of The Cure or Nine Inch Nails. The Swans want to seriously revolt the listener with dark, dreary, doom-laden soundscapes that make NIN's The Downward Spiral sound like The Partridge Family.