The Great Annihilators, 2013

June 13, 2013
Brooklyn, NY
The night begins dark, very dark.
A violent storm is lacerating the Eastern Seaboard—rolling thunder, black rain, horizontal winds.
And it only gets blacker, as Swans take the stage and begin to conjure a sound so violent and extreme I’m immediately transported, shoved back into a long industrial chair, pictured in hues both gray and blue. It’s almost parallel to the ground, my head pitching slightly below the rest of my body towards the floor and I’m getting hazy with the rush of blood. The room is nondescript and unobtrusive–a thoughtful gesture. It’s a small space with medical appliances, surgical glove dispensers and filing cabinets. I’m under harsh interrogation lights, white and hot. There’s a figure to my right leaning over and into me—there’s no personal space here. He’s in what looks to be a full bodysuit, his face covered by a shield, a sort of riot-gear face mask. I can’t see his eyes. A large swatch of tape covers his mouth and I wonder how he’s able to breathe. I’m unable to move. Then a series of shots, the number of which I lose count. At some point soon after I grab my face because my skin is crawling, decaying in real time, but I feel nothing. I’m gone, then left alone for what seems like hours but is in essence only minutes. The man in the suit and mask is back. And then the tools—steely, sharp, bright—approaching slowly, moving in, and then gone. My eyes are closed. As I’m pushed and pulled the visions come hard and fast—a catacomb of saints falling into a raging Icelandic volcano, cloaked men on horseback racing towards me at a furious pace, an eternal waiting room with spirit shadows crawling across its walls, hailstorms and firestorms that are being conducted by snake charmers, all part of a time warp of Cold War fury. And then nothing. It’s over, and I’m gutted. My mind/body nexus has been thoroughly annihilated. Afterwards, I motion with a wave of my hand to see the teeth—they’re scattered across a burning steel tray covered in blood.
This is Swans.
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