Skinny Puppy ‘Weapon’ (Metropolis Records)
Shocking. A new Skinny Puppy album and they sound more like Portion Control than they did thirty years ago. Second, third, fourth playing… Still a little shocked, but… LOVE it! I have a loathing of the latest trend for bands to rewind their back catalogue, go on lucrative tours and play them whole live. Thankfully this is not an example of such wallet-opening nostalgia, but I did think this album was a little regressive after one sitting. Not anymore. No regression here, just forward purpose. Purpose and reason…
Weapon brims with powerful, all-absorbing (as is all Puppy material) fast-driving constructs but what the Canadian trio have achieved here through smoothed gleaming electro structures is make their source material more readily readable to the conscious mind. Ogre clearly defines how weaponry created by man is glorified in the devastation it causes to man and as his voice is less buried and drenched with effects the socio-political nature of the band is clear for all. Hopefully through this lighter approach of resonant sequences, crisp percussive rhythms (never bludgeoning) and a less cerebral-overloading production the many truths of this “criminal age” are laid bare within more accessible aural combat. Sometimes less harsh can definitely be more rewarding and that is the case here. Diplomacy over bombs? Hell, yes, Cevin Key and co. understand that and in truth always have.
One of the joy’s of listening to this album was immediately reaching for the original ‘Solvent’ to compare with its included new technology upgrade and on hearing again it’s easy to affirm just how important Skinny Puppy were right from the outset of 1984’s Remission EP. They helped spawn and forge the new Electro-Industrial genre from marks left by UK acts such as Portion Control and The Legendary Pink Dots. Perhaps Weapons links that full circle and spirals a new beginning? It’s not just a (smothered) hope that the important messages within all their work can now be fully heard and gain further momentum with this album’s possibility of achieving mass-consumption.
© Deadhead from The Empty Quarter 2013 – For more industrial, experimental and often weirs sounds head to The Empty Quarter.