Posted: 23 May 2004
Through sources I can't exactly reveal, a month or two ago I managed to score a copy of the new Skinny Puppy album that's due out on Tuesday the 25th. My first reaction, as to be expected, was "well, ok, but this isn't really Skinny Puppy." And, admittedly, it's more like ohGr with Cevin Key's musical sensibilities returned to the mix. That's not bad, though, not bad at all. On my first run through, nothing really grabbed me until the last two songs, but those hit pretty hard. Really good ones, but I'll get to those later. Suffice to say, since that first listening, the entire thing has grown on me much more than I'd first expected. There's one exception, though, which I'll also get to in a minute. And so, I'll see if I can run through it track-by-track and do a little bit about each.
This is a good, solid, lead-off song. The kind of song that should obviously start off an album. The ohGr influence is readily apparent. It's pretty repetitive and features crunchy synthesized guitars and thuddy percussions. While it's not terribly momorable, it's a decent tune.
A little more dancy, this one starts out with a sort of shuffle, almost hip-hop-y, drum line. This one'll stick in your head a little more with a catchy chorus, I believe it's either "Hit me in the streets" or "Hear me in the streets." Again, not one of my altogether favorites, but it's definitely not one to skip past.
This starts out almost as a b-side to The Process. The tempos in this one are a bit different, with an almost drifting verse that suddenly transitions to a paced, climbing crescendo of a chorus. Not one of the catchier songs, but good. The chorus is definitely one of my preferred moments on the album.
Ahh, this song. This is the one I just can't bring myself to like very much, or, actually, at all. I don't know if I've just grown up too much and aren't as in to spacey drones and things, but the chorus of this song is absolutely terrible. It essentially involves Ogre moaning "Neuuuuuuuwerld oooooordeeeeeeer eeeer eeeeeeeer" and it's just not doing it for this listener. In fact, I haven't listened to this tune in weeks. Obviously, I suggest you check it out, but I wouldn't be surprised if the general opinion is the opinion I've heard thus far, that this is easily the least favorite track on here.
This is where I started marking the album at that "OK, from here on it's really good." It's also the song I dubbed as the closest to old, classic Skinny Puppy. It's a sort of creeping pace, more exploratory than the first four tracks. Well, exploratory in the good way. Recommended, though not a show-stopper.
Yes, Ogre's still on the weird capitalization thing. That's about all I recall from this track, actually. It's good but not terribly memorable. Pretty low-key, too. Just sort of drifts in there and is good for background music. Oh, and it's 4:20 long. That's interesting to note. Not that I think it has anything to do with weed, though I haven't paid that much attention to the lyrics and, frankly, I can't imagine a Skinny Puppy song about marijuana.
Another good but unmemorable one. A little catchier than the last, though. There's this synth line in the chorus that's very oontz-oontz-oontz EBM, but it works well here. I like. This tune also features the lines "body parts of those that feed / who was once committed / pulling wings off flying things," which I find stuck in my head all the time. Here's where it definitely starts ramping up to the awesome stuff.
Much to my surprise, this song features the inclusion of Danny Carey, the drummer of Tool, and Wayne Static, guitars and vocals from Static-X. Much like empTe, this one has a sort of drifting verse that suddenly dumps the listener to a dramatic chorus, though it's less of a crescendo than a kind of breakdown, with lots of toms and Wayne Static chanting in his Wayne Static shouty voice "Are we? Are we all completely useless?" Good stuff.
Fucking Christ, this is where it really starts to happen. This track is fucking awesome. Man, I don't even know how to describe it. I'm finding myself at a loss for words, actually, and this has gone on long enough without me actually saying anything meaningful, so I'll try to wrap it up soon. Listen to this song or you'll seriously regret it.
OK, now forget what I said about Goneja. That's a really killer song, but this one trumps the whole album. They work great as a pair, actually. Anyway, though, back to this track. Again, I'm at a loss for words. The lines "I am a god / I am a faceless warrior" just speak to me for some reason (see my forum title, actually). The whole song gives me chills, though, and I've found myself listening to these last two over and over again for hours at work. Then I realize I've just sort of been staring at my monitor without doing anything, so that's all good.
And so that brings us to the end. In a nutshell, the last two tracks are spectacular, the rest of the album is great but not life-changing, and track 4 sucks. We have tickets to see them in June, and I can't wait. I've been waiting for them for about 12 years, though, so I guess I can hold on a little longer. My closing words are to buy this album on Tuesday when it hits, and you most likely won't regret it.