Review Summary: Skinny Puppy takes past techniques and adds a heavy dose of horror and quality synth to make this their finest album.
Enter Skinny Puppy. Brutal rants, electronic chaos, and dark disturbing samples. The group is most often thought of as a pioneer of industrial music. But if you’re expecting strictly the fast pace Ministry
sound of Rabies
or the borderline techno sound of Bites
, you might be in for a surprise on Too Dark Park
. This album takes past styles and combines it with a new sense of hopelessness to make the quintessential Puppy sound.
Right away you’re exposed to this new disturbing sound. Convulsion
hurls you into this spinning vortex of noise. Trying to make out Ogre’s harsh lyrics while listening to pounding drum samples makes for an exhilarating experience. However don’t expect to enjoy it right away. It takes some time to really immerse you’re self in this sound.
We’re brought back to some more typical sounding music with the song Tormenter
. The song is the highlight of the album. It takes a funky sounding synth pattern and just rides it the whole way. Most of the lyrics are hard to make out but you will pick out the important lines such as the repeating “mental shock”. In fact that is how it is with most of these songs. Ogre rambles on about random dark subjects (often relating to animal rights or drugs) but then you hear something real interesting, and you have to take a step back. That’s apparent on the next track, Spasmolytic
. The whole way your listening to “Kicking the Habit!” and all of a sudden you hear this freakishly disturbing “Sorry I’m ***ed up inside.” A well timed moment. One thing I also find well done on this track is how through the most of the track we’re listening to a ferocious double time feel, and then around 2:05 it goes to half time and were kind of dropped back in reality. Another well timed effect.
By far the biggest strength of the album is the synth work. I guess that’s kind of what makes the band. There is so much quality work at hand. Like Tormenter
, the track Nature’s Revenge
makes an irresistible beat from beginning to end. And tracks like Shore Lined Poison
and Morpheus Laughing
feature some truly sweet sounding electronic riffs and samples, as well as some brilliant lurking whispers by Ogre. There’s really not a boring moment…
…Well Rash Reflection
features some repetitive and slightly annoying noises. And although Morpheus Laughing
features a great synth lick, the whole track seems to just drag a bit. Still this doesn’t bring the album down much at all. Both of these tracks are still more than listenable.
The album kind of does an amazing thing. It takes fast paced metal riffs from T.F.W.O
, catchy funk beats from Nature’s Revenge
, and even distorted noise rock from Convulsion
and manages to make a great cohesive album. It never sounds of out of place or bland. A problem that plagued the last album before it: Rabies
. It also takes the band in new darker direction that helps serves as a nice transition into their next album Last Rights
, which is even creepier.
Still this music isn’t for everyone. When their music is being described as “anti-music”, they’re not going to have the largest fan base. While most people will enjoy the easily accessible tracks such as Tormenter
and Nature’s Revenge
, many will be turned off by the album’s haunting and depressing sound, as well as complete chaos (Reclamation
). But for fans of this style, this album serves as an industrial masterpiece as well as Skinny Puppy’s most solid and consistent album.