May 2013 14

Skinny Puppy - WeaponSkinny Puppy
Category: Industrial / Experimental
Album: Weapon
Stars: 4
Blurb: As lyrically relevant and disturbing as ever and pursuing a sound as multifaceted as it is strangely old school, Skinny Puppy’s twelfth album stands as one of the act’s most accomplished outings.


Skinny Puppy has for three decades proven to be among the most defining forces in modern music, pursuing every exploratory avenue and unconventional method to create a singular sound that exemplifies the true experimental nature of industrial music. In recent years, the band’s predominantly electronic reinvention has seen the incorporation of IDM and glitch textures along with the familiar use of gritty ambience and confrontational lyrics, making for a sound that is less horrific though no less nightmarish. With Weapon, the band makes a definitive statement not only on the violent nature of the status quo but also on mankind’s ever descending path toward self annihilation and indifference.

Beginning with layers of pulsating FM synthesis and bouncy yet distorted beats that immediately bear an ‘80s vibe, Nivek Ogre’s macabre voice cutting clearly amid waves of haunting pads, “wornin’” begins Weapon on a decidedly enjoyable yet disconcerting retro note. If ever a case could be made for the thinning line between Skinny Puppy and ohGr, this opening track would be a good example. Once “illiciT” kicks in with a hard but danceable whiplash beat and scathing synths, the band’s dark atmosphere starts to gain in power, the brutal vocoder effects lending weight to the refrain of “This is the criminal age.” Similarly, “paragUn” enters with a light cowbell-like beat and subtle squeals that are as humorous as they are disturbing, the song eventually hitting its stride with a grinding chorus that makes for one of the album’s musical high points, while “tsudanama” is sure to affect a few listeners’ eardrums with its interwoven lines of chunky bass sequences, distorted manipulations, and slithery rhythms. Besides the distinctly old school tones at play on Weapon, the band reaches back to the first album, Remission, for a new version of “solvent” that may in fact surpass the original and reveal Skinny Puppy’s often overlooked sense of melody, while “terminal” resonates with swelling pads that for a moment are reminiscent of “Worlock.”

Throughout Weapon, there is a sense of almost desperate urgency as each song builds to explosive sonic tapestries with an expediency befitting the subject matter. Little time is wasted on long interludes or intros, each song straightforward in cEvin Key’s and Mark Walk’s efforts to create a darkly abstract soundscape to ensnare the listener. From the dance floor fury of “paragUn” and “plastiCage” to the introspective atmosphere of “gLowebeL” and the ghostly loops and reverberations of “survivalisto,” Weapon remains a coherent and consistent affair due to the subtle complexity of its compositions and the deceptive simplicity of its production, almost to signify Skinny Puppy’s coming full circle and returning to a sound that might have been explored earlier in the band’s history had the means been available then to do so. Lyrically topical and thematically relevant, some may continue to lament the band’s further straying from the decrepit sounds of old, but given the strength of Weapon, those people should perhaps take a hint from the chorus to “saLvo” and say “screw it!”
Track list:

  1. wornin’
  2. illiciT
  3. saLvo
  4. gLowbeL
  5. solvent
  6. paragUn
  7. survivalisto
  8. tsudanama
  9. plasiCage
  10. terminal

Skinny Puppy Website
Skinny Puppy Facebook
Skinny Puppy Twitter
Skinny Puppy SoundCloud
Subconscious Communications Website
Metropolis Records Website
Metropolis Records MySpace
Metropolis Records Facebook
Metropolis Records Twitter
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon Vinyl
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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