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GREED

Swans

Post Rock/Math rock


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Swans Greed album cover
3.06 | 14 ratings | 2 reviews | 7% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1986

Songs / Tracks Listing


Side A

1. Fool (5:23)
2. Anything for You (4:32)
3. Nobody (4:49)
4. Stupid Child (5:19)

Side B

1. Greed (6:17)
2. Heaven (4:54)
3. Money Is Flesh (6:20)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians


- Michael Gira / vocals, samples, tape operation, piano, bass guitar, production, album cover design
- Jarboe / backing vocals
- Norman Westberg / guitar
- Harry Crosby / bass guitar
- Ronaldo Gonzalez / drums
- Ted Parsons / drums
- Ivan Nahem / drums

Releases information

K.422 Records 1986 Studio Album

Thanks to The Truth for the addition
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Buy SWANS Greed Music


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Import
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Audio CD$8.73
$6.81 (used)
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$29.99 (used)
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Import · Single
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Universal UK
Audio CD$34.16
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SWANS Greed ratings distribution


3.06
(14 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
7%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(14%)
14%
Good, but non-essential (71%)
71%
Collectors/fans only (7%)
7%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

SWANS Greed reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars It should be apparent that SWANS' inclusion within this site has little to do with this era of their discography, but Greed is certainly a significant album in terms of their development, and when this band is brought up amongst fellow ale-enthusiasts at my favorite watering hole, I tend to find that it's their early releases up through Children Of God that seem to garner the most attention, as these releases are remembered by underground enthusiasts of the 80's fondly for their notoriety and demented character.

As far as Greed is concerned, their sound had evolved from the crushing noise-fests of their prior full-lengths and the Young God EP by some adventurousness in instrumentation and style. "Fool" is a a percussion-less opener with a piano being the main instrument embellished with smatterings of guitar providing an extra layer of "melody" so to speak. Quite a surprise for fans who followed their trajectory I'm sure. What it lacks though in musical ferocity is compensated by the sheer emotional anguish presented by Gira's unapologetically blunt lyrics, dire and sadomasochistic.

"I'll cut off my right hand and stand in your shadow."

Not a typical song about devotion. These bizarre proclamations work due to Gira's vocal delivery, quite direct with an imposing tone. Nothing comes across as 'whiny' as throughout this release his voice alternates between baritone 'spoken word' recitement and harrowing bellows. The music for each tune is generally repetitive, stretching a singular idea throughout a song's entirety, which can become daunting in some cases. After the opener, things get heavier, emboldened by a powerful warhammer drum sound and guitars that often act like another percussion instrument rather than a source of melody. "Nobody" is a notable track in that it marks the introduction of female vocalist Jarboe into their fold, although she's regulated to haunting back-up vocals in a song that sounds practically ritualistic in nature. Very creepy and effective, and followed by the abrasive "Stupid Child" that bears strong 'industrial' characteristics and a sinister demeanor..

The sparse simplicity of some of these songs harbor a coldness that resonates well in providing a bleak atmosphere for the equally repetitive and seemingly straightforward lyrics, such as when Gira desperately roars "WE'RE IN HEAVEN!!!" as if it's the last place he wished to find himself. Like a jail cell.

It's not the sort of album I find myself listening to a whole lot, since each song makes its point early on and sometimes I find myself waiting for it to finish so I can get to the next hellish vision. The title track is pretty spooky (another featuring Jarboe on back-up vocals), but it really starts to wear out its welcome after a few minutes.

I generally do like playing this mean bugger on occasion, although regarding the "dollar sign" full-lengths, I tend to prefer Holy Money. Still, Greed possesses a few keepers, and makes for great listening at work as you can watch the morale of your coworkers deflate with each passing tune. It's an experiment I recommend trying at least once since the clarity of the tortured lyrics combined with the crawling waves of borderline musical accompaniment registers immediate impact on the unwary.

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Review by TCat
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars So after 2 full length albums and several E.P.s, Swans had established themselves as a loud, churning, dark and sludgy industrial punk sound with primitive rhythms and sounds and very hard to understand lyrics. Swans was a big underground hit and the fans knew what to expect, simple, repetitive tunes that made you feel like you were not just in a funeral dirge, but were being dragged behind the procession in the mud face down. Imagine their surprise when they heard the first track on this album "Greed".

Immediately, they knew a something had changed. What is this....a piano? And this sounds like Gira singing, but I can actually understand what he is chanting/singing. With this album, the slow change had started in Swans overall sound. Though it sounded quite drastic on the first track, even though it is still dark and repetitive, the band was ready to explore new ground.

Like I said, the album starts out with the song "Fool", a dissonant and heavy piano leading the way with the guitar providing background sounds, no hammering percussion and there are lyrics that you can understand. Yes they are still depressing and bleak and the vocals are dissonant and heavy, but there is an obvious change. After that, the sound turns back to the industrial slow dirge- like beat that the fans were used to, but the sound is not a full return to the overall sound from before. The lyrics are easier to decipher and the music isn't as unrelenting. The repetition follows throughout the album, but the lyrics are so much more hard hitting now that you can understand them.

There are some new things the band is trying here too. This is the first album to feature vocals from Jarboe, even though she is a background singer on the 2 tracks she sings on. The title track plods on for almost 3 and a half minutes with wordless vocals, more like a moan/gasp sound from Jarboe, before Gira starts to sing. The closest thing to the previous sound is on the track "Heaven" which, even though it isn't as loud as before, it is the slowest grind of the album with Gira doing his groaning/moaning/singing/droning as before. He's singing about "This is Heaven" like he is pissed about being there. Quite frankly, this is the most evil sounding of all of the tracks, but it is also the most progressive. You will get the odd looks if you play this in public, so yes, it is reminiscent of their previous material. The last track on the original album is "Money is Flesh" which uses a synthesizer playing the main riff instead of the guitar, but other than that, it still pounds it's way into your a brain like a sledgehammer.

So, it's repetitive and overall still quite loud and grinding. But there have been some levers inserted into the music and you see a band starting to develop and pull itself out of the muck of their previous punk-ish version of industrial music. The music would continue to develop with each album after this and things would get better. As the band approaches more of a post-punk, mathcore sound, the music slowly gets better until they actually and surprisingly begin to produce some very innovative music. But as far as this album, it's still a long way from where they would end up. But it is interesting to hear where they came from and how they developed. This is better than previous albums, but not by much. I have to give them props though for having the courage to develop their music and their talents. This is progression, but not yet progressive. I will give this 3 stars simply because it is an attempt to try new things for the band. But it's still not easy to listen to too often.

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