Review Summary: With vicious instrumentation and cold vocal performances, Holy Money is worth the money and/or effort just for the experience.
Almost all of Swans
' albums make you "experience" things. What I mean is, you feel certain things when listening to Swans that you don't feel when listening to anything else. Filth
, a very violent record, makes you feel like you're being beaten down by a man with all his might, Cop
includes a very hopeless feeling, as if you were being chased down and you have nobody to go to for help, Greed
and (more specifically) its sister record, Holy Money
, makes you feel confused, depressed and on the edge of losing everything you have.
was a rather unsatisfying and forgettable effort, Holy Money
is a strong record that improves apon not only Greed's
set backs, but even the band's best talents. Front man Michael Gira takes a different approach with his vocals. Before, he would growl, yell, cry, and howl like a rabid animal hunting down it's prey, here, Gira moans in a very sinister tone, reeking of poison. The inclusion of Jarboe is also a plus, while she only appears on "A Hanging" and "You Need Me", here contributions are not to be forgotten. Her moaning of "I'm Sorry/I'll never do it again/I love you"
is absolutely haunting and perfectly segues into "Fool [#2]".
If you haven't guessed from the title, "Fool" originally appeared as the opening track from Greed
in the form of a repetitive, but bleak piano-oriented song that left something to be desired. Here, however, guitars and drums are added to the mix, filling in all of the gaps between Gira's cold, melancholy voice and the inhuman piano loop. "Money is Flesh [#2]", another Greed
-oriented track, also improves on the original's mistakes. By adding more instruments to the metallic, industrial beat gives the listener more to look into and admire.
My only problem with this album would be the bookends "A Hanging" and "Coward". While it is cool to here Jarboe's strange, unworldly moans layering Gira's depressed, weak whispers, the instrumentation is very bland and leaves something to be desired in "A Hanging". "Coward" starts off strong, with Michael's bold, yet cold moan of "Coward: Put your knife in me"
sending chills down your spine. Sadly, the instrumentation is yet again very bland and boring, making "Coward" only a decent closer to an otherwise great album.
Out of the Greed/Holy Money
double album, Holy Money
is the superior record. With vicious instrumentation and cold vocal performances, Holy Money
is worth the money and/or effort just for the experience.