My first Puppy album, believe it or not. I was a little concerned, because some people had dismissed it as a disappointing comeback, too poppy, too (blech) nu-metal, and so on, and so it was something of a gamble buying it. I have little idea what they sounded like before, but if their previous stuff is even one-tenth similar to this, I'll be spending all my pay packets of 2005 rescuing all their albums from the darker corners of Amazon. This is a quite stunning, complex little beast; electro-industrial rather than industrial rock, more Frontline Assembly than Ministry (I guess. What do I know?), with the most gorgeous production - about 20 or so different levels of samples and effects shifting and slithering about all over each other like metallic ants, more layers and depths and hidden trapdoors and sudden looming abysses than 'Kid A' meets The Young Gods meets 'The Downward Spiral', and that's some density. Equally sensational are the vocals and lyrics, sort of stream-of-unconsciousness Burroughsian cut-ups and snarky little rants which paint pictures which...you can't quite describe. You sure realise the pictures are of baaaaaad things, though. Best of all, it seems to eschew the now-cliched rage and angst that permeates much industrial, and seems much more cunning, whimsical, subversive, even playful. And the first three songs are possibly the greatest opening trio on any album ever. For Pete's sake, BUY this.
Anyone who has heard the song Skinny Puppy submitted for the Underworld soundtrack (Optimissed), or either of the "ohGr" albums, may think they have some idea what this album will be like. In part, you'd be right; the opening tracks -"I'mmortal" and "Pro-test"- have a similar up-tempo sound to them. But this is not to say that the band have forgotten their roots. Tracks such as "Ghostman" and "DOwnsizer" are slow, disturbing, and unmistakable "Puppy". The obvious stand-out track here is Use Less, featuring Danny Carey from Tool, and Wayne Static of Static-X. It sounds like the guys have sat down together with a copy of Freddy Mercury's "Living On My Own", chewed it up, and spat out a dark, emotional track with an anthemic chorus which will stay with you for days. The climax of the album, "DaddyuWarbash", starts with Ogre's voice electronically raised in pitch so that it sounds like a very young girl singing. Other instruments and voices quickly sweep in to produce an incredible, epic-sounding piece of music. It's like listening to an entirely synthetic orchestra! In contrast to it's depth, this track is mercilessly short, and after roughly three and a half minutes it fades away, leaving you to contemplate what you've just heard... ...before starting the CD playing again. To give you soem idea of where Im coming from with this review, I do like Skinny Puppy's earlier stuff. A lot! However, there are other bands I considered far superior. This album has made me rethink this. Rather than giving us more of the same, Skinny Puppy have created a record which stands head and shoulders (and a good light-year in front of) their rival bands. It's dark, powerful, varied, stunning, and I simply can't recommend it enough.
It's been over two years since we firsted started to hear that Skinny Puppy were getting back together to record. At last we have a new album from them and what a beauty of an album it is. This album shows a definite progression in their sound, which incorporates influences from both Ohgr and Download, while still retaining the classic Puppy feel. Songs like Ghostman and d0wnsizer have all the hallmarks of earlier Puppy albums while some of the other tracks show a clear progression from The Process and other Process-era tracks released on Back & Forth 6. Ogre's vocal style has changed and improved with him experimenting with different fx and also the use of cleaner vocals. cEvin Key's work has also developed with him making great use of the newer technologies available. As the album title suggests the political element of Skinny Puppy is still present and the album as a whole reflects on the current state of the world. All in all this is another great Skinny Puppy album and I can't wait to hear this material live alongside the older stuff in London on the 19th July.
After the announcement of a new puppy album, I couldn't wait to see how it turned out. I was a bit concerned at first knowing that it wouldn't be the same without dwayne but seeing as though he was never an original member anyway, all worries are soon forgotten. It has a similar style to the ohGr albums but more heavy and faster beats. The synthesizer at the end of "Immortal" brings back memories of "worlock". Even Wayne Static (who's voice I can't stand) can't ruin this album. Their best since "too dark park"
It is great to see the return of Skinny Puppy, even though this can never be the line up that produced such great material in the past. I also approached this with some trepidation, because after such a long gap, you are never sure what is going to be produced. However, there are certainly some excellent tracks on this that show that the creativity and novelty is still there. Particular favourites right now ... "I'mmortal", "Pro-test" and "DaddyuWarbash". Enough.