Review Summary: The soundtrack to a band tearing itself apart.
Never has a band created such a perfect soundtrack to their own eventual demise. Here was a band tearing itself apart through violence, enlarged egos, and excessive drug use and somehow managing to put it all to music. Last Rights
is easily the most atonal, challenging, elaborate, and angry of their career, and it is so much the better for it. This was the sound of a band that was on a personal downward spiral, but talented enough to convey that fall through their music.
When their previous album, Too Dark Park
, came out it was a shock to fans as it took a very dark turn and increased the convoluted and dense nature of the music tenfold, but this album was even more of a shock as it managed to increase those traits another tenfold. The first two tracks might not fully prepare someone for what they were about to experience as the opener could have come off Too Dark Park
with its more conventional beats, song structure, and melodies. The second song and fan-favorite, “Killing Game”, was a new twist on the Skinny Puppy sound as it is solely piano, slow pounding percussion and Ogre ranting, but it still couldn’t prepare someone for the rest of the album.
The third track, “Knowhere?”, is where the stage is truly set for the rest of the album. It begins with a beat that seems to be created through the combination of an explosion and a gunshot. Over the “percussion” are layers of white noise, random synth, samples and Ogre ranting incoherently with complete disregard to the flow of the actual song. It peaks with a build up in all of the elements to levels of almost complete noise before suddenly stopping while Ogre shouts “You will have no one to run to” and then sings in a processed, almost crazy voice, “No one to run to”. It is only when Ogre’s voice begins to fade away that someone might be truly aware of what the rest of the album has in store for them.
continues to challenge the listener through sustained use of noise, found sounds that create fleeting instances of melody, random and jarring percussion, and Ogre’s angry, almost psychotic rant. While there are lulls in the chaos, such as in the song “Inquisition”, it is the exception and not the norm. The norm is in songs such as “Scrapyard” with it use of rolling waves of percussion, jarring rhythmic stops, random noise, samples and Ogre alternately singing and yelling like he recorded his vocals while drunk in a bar. The album ends with the eleven-minute song “Download” which is entirely derived of random chaotic samples, layers of undulating white noise, sparse drones and absolutely no beat or rhythms at all making the previous songs seem like easy listening.
It wouldn’t be until they got millions of dollars from American Records for The Process
that they could afford to finish what they started by self-destructing the rest of the way through overdose-induced death and their eventual (temporary) break up, but this is the album that sets the stage for that tragic eventuality. It features very little of what the mainstream public would consider “music”; there aren’t any catchy melodies, any hooks, anything you could conceivably sing along to or even more then the rare beat you could tap your foot to, and that’s what makes this album great. Anyone looking for an industrial album that is going to challenge you to pick out the subtle nuances and dissect the various layers of sounds in order to be rewarded with a fully enjoyable and near-classic album need look no further than Last Rights