Dec 2011 05

Skinny Puppy - hanDoverSkinny Puppy
Category: Industrial / Experimental
Album: hanDover
Stars: 4
Blurb: At times melodic, danceable, distorted, and always atmospheric, the industrial legends produce one of their most diverse albums yet.


As a band evolves over the course of decades, there are bound to be detractors who favor the sounds of old with little regard for the passage of time and the musicians’ need to expand beyond their own established parameters. As the name of Skinny Puppy has become synonymous with what many consider to be true industrial, the band has faced much derision for the more glitch-laden, purely electronic, and arguably less organically decrepit or horrific textures featured on albums like The Greater Wrong of the Right and Mythmaker, while still maintaining a steadfastly loyal audience willing to follow them on their path of sonic exploration. Perhaps unfortunately, hanDover will do little to alleviate the divide between the two lines of thinking, but it does exhibit Skinny Puppy’s unwillingness to compromise in the pursuit of melodic and atmospheric experimentation.

Beginning with “Ovirt,” the sound of the album is distinctly electronic as skittering beats underplay a repeating two-note chord progression that echoes bouncily in an offbeat fashion. Some twinkling ambience typical of cEvin Key – usually of the type featured most prominently in Download and his solo albums – and a rather rhythmic vocal delivery from Nivek Ogre evokes one of the band’s earliest classics, “Smothered Hope,” if not for the modern production sheen. The same can be said for “Wavy” as an acoustic guitar passage shifts between forward and reverse to create an off-kilter dynamic that in conjunction with the shimmering piano reminiscent of “Killing Game” makes for one of the more classically despairing moments in the band’s discography. Songs like “Gambette” with its energetic beat or the almost painterly layers of mechanical guitars and colorful synthesizers on “Cullorblind,” both featuring highly melodic progressions that are simply too catchy to ignore, will doubtlessly remind listeners of Ogre and Mark Walk’s more pop-oriented brand of electronic trickery in ohGr. As well, “Brownstone” presents a continuation of a story arc first explored in ohGr with the “Welcome to Collideoskope” single and website and the unDeveloped album; dubious as the concept pervades into Skinny Puppy, but understandable given the shared personnel. But it is on tracks like “Point” with its brilliantly atonal vocal and synthetic distortions, “Vyrisus” with its gutturally monotone tapestry of darkened ambient noise, and the nightmarishly glitchy closer of “NoiseX” that hanDover takes the most drastic left turns that should appease even the staunchest critic of Skinny Puppy’s later material.

As stated, hanDover may not appeal to all fans of Skinny Puppy, but it does present some of the most purely experimental moments in the band’s oeuvre in quite some time. With longtime cohorts Saki Kaskas, Traz Damji, and Ken “Hiwatt” Marshall offering assistance, this album finds the trio pulling all the stops with songs that run the gamut from danceable and melodic to noisy and ambient to all points in between, making for one of the most diverse albums ever released from the industrial music legends.
Track list:

  1. Ovirt
  2. Cullorblind
  3. Wavy
  4. AshAs
  5. Gambatte
  6. Icktums
  7. Point
  8. Brownstone
  9. Vyrisus
  10. Village
  11. NoiseX

Skinny Puppy Website
Skinny Puppy MySpace
Skinny Puppy Facebook
SPV GmbH Website
SPV GmbH Facebook
Subconscious Communications Website
Subconscious Communications Facebook
Synthetic Symphony
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)


  1. Chris Vaughn says:

    It seems that Handover has created a stir with a lot of people. This album feels like a return of sorts to the partnership of the boys. I think that it’s a phenomenal record, enough to write a piece inspired by each track on my blog page. It’s been a very long time since a record has stung me like that.

  2. Damian G. says:

    Like a yin to ohGr’s solo unDeveloped’s yang this is a dense, noisy album that works best in tandem with aforementioned.
    At times bordering on impenetrable it is continously invigorated by hints of soothing melody that proves that Skinny Puppy can meander with ease, from pop to noise and back.

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