Not quite creepy, but with a deep sense of foreboding and taut drama all the way into the blood-stained, archaic conclusion. The lyrics leave out the critical moments of the story, the way Peter Gabriel has always liked to do - this is a very early track, off the first album that Genesis really recognized later on, their real debut Trespass (1970), and Peter is rather assured as a singer all through the song and the album - he was just twenty at the time.
It's one of the first songs from their golden years of the seventies I ever heard, and remains an enigmatic favourite. The lyrics could be understood to be either about real wolves in a fable world, where wolves follow laws and have their own tribal chiefs, or about a native American tribe with the wolf as a totemic animal. And the whistling solo at the very end? Yes, that's rather creepy.
Thin hung the web like a trap in a cage,
The fox lay asleep in his lair.
Fang's frantic paws told the tale of his sin,
Far off the chase shrieked revenge.
Outcast he trespassed where no wolf may tread,
The last sacred haunt of the dead.
He learnt of a truth which only one wolf may know,
The sceptre and crown of a king.
Howling for blood, One-eye leads on the pack,
Plunging through forest and snowstorm.
Steep rose the ridge, ghostly peaks climbed the sky,
Fang sped through jungles of ice.
Hard on his tail, One-eye drew from the pack -
An old hero conquered by none.
Steep, far too steep, grew the pathway ahead,
Descent was the only escape.
A wolf never flees in the face of his foe,
Fang knew the price he would pay.
One-eye stood before him
With the crown upon his head,
Sceptre raised to deal the deadly blow.
Fang, son of Great Fang, the traitor we seek,
The laws of the brethren say this:
That only the king sees the crown of the gods,
And he, the usurper, must die.
Snarling he tore at the throat of his foe,
But Fang fought the hero in vain.
Dawn saw the white mountain tinted with red:
Never would the crown leave again.
One-eye hid the crown and with laurels on his head
Returned amongst the tribe and dwelt in peace.