Review Summary: Skinny Puppy attempts to integrate their 'old school' influences with their current, modern direction and it winds up working pretty well.Skinny Puppy
has been churning out quality Industrial albums since the early 80’s, but all of that came to a screeching halt during the recording of their album The Process
when their keyboardist, Dwayne Goettel, died of a heroin overdose, and the band broke up. Considering the amount of turmoil and tension exhibited by the band during these recordings, even if he hadn’t died Skinny Puppy would have probably still broken up anyway. After the much publicized events of their break up, I’m sure no one thought that they would ever get back together, but after being split up for eight years, a recently clean and sober Nivek Ogre and Cevin Key decided to regroup under the Skinny Puppy name. This album, Mythmaker
is their second release since reuniting.
To put it in terms that most people on this site can understand, this album is the equivalent of Dark Tranquillity
album. It is a comprehensive retrospective of the band’s past, but done through new music. Over the course of this album you’ll find the simpler beats of the band’s origins, the metalized noise of Rabies
, the dark, convoluted sounds represented by Too Dark Park
and Last Rights
, the gothic melodies of The Process
, as well as the increased techno vibe of their first post-Goettel album, The Greater Wrong of the Right
One of the main things that a lot of Skinny Puppy’s fans lamented when the band finally reunited was that they dropped the samples and dense nature found on Too Dark Park
and Last Rights
, and on this album they bring some of that back. Songs such as the first two tracks “Magnifishit” and “Dal” take a lot from those two previously mentioned albums. They both bring back the layered samples and darker melodies, as well as the distorted vocals that Ogre had written off during The Process
. These songs aren’t just rehashing the past; they also bring new elements to the table as well. One of the best new elements is the increased emphasis on voice inflection, and variation. On past albums Ogre’s vocals had the potential to become slightly monotonous, and he has rectified that by injecting more melody into the vocal lines.
This album also finds the band bringing back the gothic melodies, and moody nature of their album The Process
. One example of that is the song “Haze” which features a delicate sounding keyboard melody, and the moody vocals of Ogre. On this song he uses a few different voice modifiers to add even more variation to the song, with the main one making him sound like a robot, and another one being a deep growl. “Jeher” takes even more from The Process
by including everything that the other song does, and adding acoustic guitar to the mix. In addition to the influences already mentioned, songs like “Pedafly” bring back the distorted guitar and feedback used in Rabies
and too a lesser extent The Process
, and mix it with the more energetic beats and vocal delivery of The Greater Wrong of the Right
. That is where this album shines in the same way that Dark Tranquillity’s does, in that it brings together all the different elements from their various eras and mixes them together with new ideas with great success. For those that only started listening to Skinny Puppy during The Greater Wrong of the Right
album, there is still plenty for you on this album too. They still make extensive use of the more upbeat and energetic beats (similar to The Prodigy
), and accessible vocals on songs such as “Politikill” and “Ambiantz”, only they mix it with their past, and the new, more dynamic vocal delivery that Ogre is using these days.
While this album is not in the same league as their peak, Too Dark Park
, it is still very good and it is nice to see them bringing back elements from their past that they had ignored on more recent releases. Really, though, as far as I’m concerned, any Skinny Puppy release is better then nothing at all, but, fortunately, the album is good anyway. For fans of Industrial, you should already own, at least, Too Dark Park
if not Rabies
and Last Rights
as well, and this album would also be a good addition to that collection. For those that have never heard of Skinny Puppy, this would be a great place to start due to the comprehensive nature of the album, and from there you could decide what elements you liked the best and then get the albums from that era… or you could just dive right in with their best album, Too Dark Park
, and witness what flawless Industrial is supposed to sound like.