Skinny Puppy


Written by: IM on 24/09/2013 09:33:09

Industrial veterans Skinny Puppy are back with their twelfth studio release to date with “WeapoN”. Having produced over two decades worth of white noise electro anthems, the question for critics now is whether the band is returning to its core sound or if it has evolved into something new. The group is currently made up of founding members; vocalist Nivek Ogre and synthesizer expert cEvin Key, along with more recent addition, guitarist Mark Walk. The band is most celebrated for its release of 1992’s “Last Rights,” but with such a distinctive aggressive, electronic and industrial sound, how much variation can there really be across twelve releases?

“WeapoN”’s dramatic album artwork depicts a spider, formed from a variety of blades and guns, in a rather H R Geiger like style. Another interesting bit of trivia about the album comes in the cryptic use of spelling and capital letters in the middle of words, which the band has always had rather an affinity for. By amassing the random capitals found in “WeapoN”’s track listing, to spell out ‘CULLT’ and adding the ‘O’ found in the bonus track, this little anagram results in a hail satan-worthy “OCULLT.” Gimmicky some would say, but this novel use of vocabulary and punctuation has always been one of Skinny Puppy’s trademark features.

The album opens with “womin,” instantly recognizable as a Skinny Puppy track from the opening seconds, exhibiting the raw, gritty mechanical sound, which the band is now practically the ambassadors of. “illisiT” showcases Ogre’s synthesized vocals, punctuated by an electronic echoing, reminiscent of 2004’s “The Greater Wrong of the Right.” “SaLvo” has a catchy into, with an electro-meets-church kind of sound, building into an aggressive chorus. Whilst it cannot be disputed that the tracks are well produced, of high quality and most likely pleasing to the ear of any industrial metal fan, one cannot help but feel the band are just sticking to what they know best. To a more discerning industrial ear, there must surely be more variation than appears to the casual listener?

Skinny Puppy’s tunes would never have sounded out of place on an alien film soundtrack and “solvent” is no exception to this, with Ogre’s aggressive drawling vocals, coupled with the electro backing providing a creepy otherworldly sound.

To keep the release as varied as it could possibly be, “tsudanama” has more of a trance sound, but breaks out into an angry vocal aggression, punctuated with sounds reminiscent of laser guns in a video game. However, the best track of the album comes in the form of "plasiCage;" which is aggressive and catchy, summing up the raw, in your face industrial-meets-electro sound of Skinny Puppy. This one track alone is concrete confirmation of the band returning to their original sound, yet retaining a distinctive edge.

Concluding with “Terminal,” Ogre and friends are back to the electric church sound for a dramatic outro, with a dark, deep and reflective sound, which juxtaposes the raw, unpunctuated energy which the band usually exhibit. The pensive tone of “Terminal” leaves the listener with a sense that although the band have returned to their core sound, they have also matured in style. Having most definitely retained their identity and sound, one can’t help but hesitate and wonder whether “WeapoN” really provides anything new, meaning that it's probably only also fair to assume that the band will continue to pull out all the same stops, both musically and with that love of anagrams and crazy spelling, when it becomes time to follow "WeapoN" up with a 13th musical extravaganza of a puzzle book.


Download: plasiCage
For The Fans Of: Nine Inch Nails, VNV Nation

Release Date 28.05.2013
Metropolis Records

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