The Great Annihilator

The Great Annihilator is the ninth studio album by American experimental rock band Swans. It was released on January 23, 1995, through frontman Michael Gira's own record label, Young God. The album has been described by Gira as a companion album to his solo album Drainland (1995); the two were remastered and re-released together in April 2017.[1]

The Great Annihilator
Swans - Great Annihilator.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 23, 1995
RecordedFebruary 1993 – June 1994
LabelYoung God
ProducerMichael Gira
Swans chronology
Kill the Child
The Great Annihilator
Die Tür ist zu
Singles from The Great Annihilator
  1. "Celebrity Lifestyle"
    Released: October 24, 1995
  2. "I Am The Sun"
    Released: 1997
  3. "Mind/Body/Light/Sound"
    Released: April 3, 2017

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [2]
CMJ New Music Monthlyfavorable[3]
The Line of Best Fit9/10[4]
Louder Sound     [5]
New Noise Magazine     [6]
PopMatters          [8]
Spectrum Culture3.75/5[9]
Blurt     [10]

The Great Annihilator received a generally positive reception from critics. AllMusic called the album "an epic, incredible work of art."[2] Trouser Press, on the other hand, wrote that the album "reveals [...] that the band is running out of ideas", commenting that is "unlikely to satisfy long-term followers. A more accessible Swans may also be a less cathartic one."[11]

Track listingEdit

All lyrics are written by Michael Gira; all music is composed by Gira, except tracks 8 and 16 (which are also composed by Jarboe).

2."I Am the Sun"3:23
3."She Lives!"7:00
4."Celebrity Lifestyle"4:10
6."Blood Promise"4:15
8."My Buried Child"2:58
10."Alcohol the Seed"3:29
11."Killing for Company"6:55
12."Mother's Milk"2:26
13."Where Does a Body End?"3:42
15."The Great Annihilator"4:53
Total length:68:06
2002 reissue bonus track
17."I Am the Sun" (Live at the Flesh Club 1996)5:48
Total length:73:54
2017 remaster disc two, Drainland
17."You See Through Me"5:41
18."Where Does Your Body Begin?"3:04
19."I See Them All Lined Up"4:13
21."Fan Letter"7:01
22."Your Naked Body"2:30
23."Low Life Form"3:41
24."If You..."4:41
25."Why I Ate My Wife"5:53
Total length:46:05


Credits adapted from The Great Annihilator liner notes.[12][13]


  1. ^ Gira, Michael (2017). "Great Annihilator / Drainland (Remastered 2017)" (Press release). Young God Records. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "The Great Annihilator – Swans : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  3. ^ Jarman, David (March 1995). "Reviews". CMJ. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  4. ^ Cartledge, Luke. "Swans' The Great Annihilator Chews Us Up and Swallows Us Whole". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  5. ^ Lawson, Dom. "Swans – The Great Annihilator Album Review". Louder Sound. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  6. ^ Haugen, Tom. "Album Review: Swans – The Great Annihilator / Drainland". New Noise Magazine. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Reyes-Kulkarni, Saby. "Swans: The Great Annihilator". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  8. ^ Schiller, Mike. "Swans: The Great Annihilator / Michael Gira: Drainland". PopMatters. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  9. ^ Beaudoin, Jedd. "Swans / Michael Gira: The Great Annihilator / Drainland". Spectrum Culture. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ Leland, John; Sheridan, David; Kenny, Glenn; Frampton, Scott. " :: Swans". Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  12. ^ The Great Annihilator (CD liner notes). Swans. Young God Records. 1995. YGCD 009.CS1 maint: others (link)
  13. ^ The Great Annihilator (2017 remaster) (CD liner notes). Swans. Young God Records. 2017. YG59.CS1 maint: others (link)