Nightmare Fuel / Swans

Notable examples of Nightmare Fuel in the music of Swans include the following:

  • Children of God, which sounds something like the usual Drone of Dread delivered in Madness Mantra form, add Gira's recent inspiration from Evangelical preachers, and Jarboe's contrastingly melodic singing, and you get something akin to an apocalyptic tale of Religious Horror delivered through the narration of a preacher gone mad. "Beautiful Child" can really stand out, from its intro of gunshots, a frenetic drum section turning into a slow march, and a thrumming bass coupled with the deep singing and Jarboe's best approximation of an ironic choir. It swells and grows as the lyrics become more fragmented, regardless if the titular child existed and was sacrificed, or is symbolic of losing your soul, it's terrifying either way.
  • Soundtracks for the Blind can only be described as damaging. Songs like the 15 minute "Helpless Child" can drive you to paranoid hallucinations.
    • "Her Mouth is Filled with Honey" combines incomprehensible layered vocals with a tape of Jarboe's father discussing seeing his daughter, unbeknownst to him, having her first LSD trip.
    • "Volcano," a slightly fractured dance tune from the perspective of a psychopath stalking and then cannibalizing a rock star.
    • The climax of "Animus," in which Michael Gira's wordless vocals are overwhelmed by a torrent of droning viola and pounding percussion, sounding not unlike a whiteout. In light of Gira's last actual words, this is terrifying.
    • "The Beautiful Days" contrasts a little girl's song with difficult to place synth noises and a woman describing working as a phone sex operator.
    • "I Was a Prisoner in Your Skull" consists of, at first, a massive dissonant orchestral swell, which subsides into electronic noises, random frantic drumming and finally slide whistles, over which a very bizarre monologue appears. "Testing, one, two, three..."
    • "I Love You This Much," a weird concatenation of hallucinatory samples and musical fragments including a pitch shifted series of excerpts from a choral piece by Gyorgy Ligeti. Yes, The Shining guy.
  • "Blind Love" from Children of God. Big, slow, thumping drums then a deep, cracked voice stirs, moans and begins to share some distinctly disturbing thoughts. Then huge clashing chords section off the verses. It sounds like the Frankenstein's Monster formed a band.
  • If you're feeling bold, check out their reworking of "I Crawled" on their live album Swans Are Dead. The original version was already creepy enough, but the gradual buildup and Jarboe's tortured vocal performance (goes from seductive woman, to weeping little girl, to raging demon all in about ten minutes) is seriously chilling.
  • Anything on Greed or Holy Money.
    • Live, even more so. Go out and listen to the version of "Another You" from Public Castration is a Good Idea and try to sleep. Or better yet, "Coward." Or "A Hanging." Public Castration is considered Swans' most intense, brutal live recording ever made, and oh boy, it shows in spades.
  • Michael Gira's side project The Angels of Light had some doozies too, ranging from slow-burners like "New City in the Future," to the satanic street parade backing "Rose of Los Angeles," to the Swans-like mechanical stomp of "Black River Song."
  • The Filth album, which makes you feel like you're being slammed with a shovel while on meth. The cover is terrifying too.
    • To clarify, the cover in question pictures a set of grinning (or grimacing) teeth in a set of black gums. The image pretty much sums up what the album sounds like.
  • From The Seer we have "93 Ave. B Blues" which is terrifying right off the bat.
    • Can we just say everything off The Seer is nightmare fuel incarnate? Tracks such as "Lunacy," "Mother of the World," and the title track seem to incorporate everything of pure horror.
    • The title track itself has to be one of their most evil songs yet. It is 32 goddamn minutes of Drone of Dread and Madness Mantra that makes you feel like the earth is about to open up beneath you and swallow you whole.
    • The next song, "The Seer Returns," contains some apocalyptic Spoken Word in Music done in a voice that redefines Evil Sounds Deep.
    • And then there's the closing track, "Apostate," which can only be described as a 23 minute descent into hell.
  • "Oxygen" seems to have been written for the express purpose of going absolutely out of its way to make the listener incredibly, exceedingly uncomfortable.
  • Jarboe has some freaky stuff on her albums as well.
    • The entirety of Mahakali down to the album cover.
    • "Transmogrification." Don't listen to it in the dark.
    • "Bornless." Jarboe sings in some odd little girl voice and it is freaky.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/NightmareFuel/Swans