Album: Bootlegged, Broke, and In Solvent Seas
Blurb: Raw and unfiltered with no edits or additional production, this latest release from the industrial legends captures the true sound of the band in its live element.
Skinny Puppy has stood for almost three decades as one of the most influential entities in underground music, recreating the industrial genre with a mix of grotesque sonic environments and theatrical live performances. The 2010 In Solvent See tour presented for many a trip down memory lane to the grim multimedia nightmare of addiction and self-destruction that was the Last Rites tour of 1992, recalling the band at its creative apex while in their personal abysses. With Bootlegged, Broke, and In Solvent Seas, Skinny Puppy offers a raw and unbridled document of that tour, revisiting some of the band’s most beloved tracks. With the recordings taken from four European dates by longtime cohort Ken “Hi-Watt” Marshall from the soundboard and a handheld recorder, this album presents the audio portion of the Skinny Puppy live experience, free from the polish and editing inherent to most live releases.
A mélange of distorted samples atop a bed of synthesized manipulations begins as the Brap-like “Prelude” segues seamlessly into the pulsating urgency and tension of “Rodent,” every nuance of Nivek Ogre’s spontaneous vocal constructions captured with a perfect balance of clarity and background distortion. Throughout the album, cEvin Key’s blend of carefully structured composition and off-the-cuff noises combined with Justin Bennett’s precise drumming pepper such heralded classics as “Dogshit,” “Deadlines,” and “Morpheus Laughing.” Two surprises on this tour came in the form of “Addiction,” presented in its less common Dog House mix, and “Hatekill,” a rarity from the Back and Forth Vault, yet both given all of the production sheen as any song on the set. Of course, the shining moments on Bootlegged, Broke, and In Solvent Seas are “Worklock,” the vocoder harmonies shimmering amid the terrified ambience that fans know and love about the song, and the majestic and epic “Assimilate,” which has never in this writer’s opinion ever been presented in any recorded version released with such vitality and grandeur. Even as the sound reaches into overdrive, the rhythms and the slithering ambience maintain a stranglehold on the listener; one can imagine what a transcendental experience such a performance must have been for those attending the shows on this tour. “Shore Lined Poison” draws to an extended close, Ogre’s echoing voice slowing like a malfunctioning tape reel as Bennett’s jazzy drumming builds to a dramatic coda, the last wisps of Key’s sound experiments fading into oblivion.
To hear these recordings, it is difficult to believe that no editing or post-production was added, allowing Bootlegged, Broke, and In Solvent Seas to stand as a testament to Skinny Puppy’s consistent quality and ability to enthrall audiences even after 28 years. While a visual accompaniment might have provided fans a much more comprehensive record of the tour, the music on its own merits still holds up as some of the most original, complex, and inimitable ever produced. While some may find Bootlegged, Broke, and In Solvent Seas to be hardly worth the purchase when placed alongside Ain’t It Dead Yet? or The Greater Wrong of the Right DVD, any fan of both Skinny Puppy and industrial music in general should devote a fair amount of time listening to this album.
01. Prelude (Warsaw)
02. Rodent (Warsaw)
03. Dead Lines (Bratislava)
04. Dogshit (Warsaw)
05. Addiction (Bratislava)
06. HateKill (Warsaw)
07. Worlock (Hildesheim)
08. Morpheus Laughing (Warsaw)
09. Assimilate (Warsaw)
10. Shore Lined Poison (Budapest)
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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)