Skinny Puppy
Weapon


3.5
great

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
May 13th, 2013 | 38 replies


Release Date: 05/28/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Skinny Puppy inject a bit of 80s influences into their new sound and come away with their best 'comeback' release so far.

Fan nostalgia can be a double-edged sword. On the positive side, nostalgia is what allows a fan to look back on an album with unadulterated love; even the questionable parts. The downside to fan nostalgia is that it can cause an artist’s current output to be dismissed simply because it doesn’t adhere to the same formula as the classic material. Skinny Puppy are just one of many established acts that know exactly how frustrating that dichotomy can be. Their older albums are generally revered throughout industrial circles as classics within the genre, but their current releases have not been receiving the same amount of love or support.

Skinny Puppy have never really released the same album twice, but up through Last Rights their abrasive, politically-charged sound was improved upon in a gradual and deliberate manner that didn’t ever come with shocking stylistic modifications. This all changed with the release of The Process. The band stripped away all of the oppressive electronic layers, Ogre’s vocals were totally unprocessed and the uncomfortable aura that was central to the Skinny Puppy mystique went missing. It was a great album, but it threw a lot of people for a loop and caused nostalgia to rear its ugly head. It took eight years before the band released another album, and it was just as much of a stylistic leap as The Process. Skinny Puppy’s newest sound was warm and melodic and was backed by infectious beats and a more energetic vocal delivery. The darkness was gone, the electronic layers were gone and even the electro-goth of The Process was missing. Of course, nostalgia has demanded that these albums be criticized for what they aren’t, which is too bad because they’ve all been solid releases.

Weapon is the fourth album released since the band’s reformation in 2004 and it doesn’t stray too far from their current formula. For those that haven’t really kept up on all things Puppy; at its core the band’s current sound is simply a return to the pure electronics of their earliest material, but with a much more melodically engaging undercurrent. The aspect that differentiates this current formula from the band’s past is the large amount of influences lifted from Ogre’s warped, electro-pop, solo material. It’s the influx of Ogre’s solo influences that has lead to energetic dance-oriented beats, strange electro melodies, cleaner vocals and a lighter atmosphere. Unlike the last few releases, though, the band made a conscious effort to include a bit more of their earliest influences in the mix, as well. In order to bring back that early vibe, they decided to record Weapon entirely on ‘legacy’ equipment and even re-record the song ‘Solvent’ (originally from Remission). The move seemed to work because Weapon almost feels like a more melodic, less oppressive, Bites or Remission.

Fans have been having problems with Skinny Puppy’s output since the release of The Process. With the release of Weapon it might be time for them to finally accept that this is what the guys in Skinny Puppy want to do – and maybe even realize that it’s not bad at all. Weapon is full of semi-danceable (or at least infectious) beats, catchy electro-melodies and Ogre’s smooth, semi-atonal, clean vocals and it is easily the best of the band’s ‘comeback’ albums. Weapon is the sound of a band that still has something to say, but delivered with a comfort level commensurate with their thirty years of existence. What the hell does that mean? It means that the guys in Skinny Puppy actually seem to be enjoying themselves and are comfortable enough with their legacy to finish out their career on their own terms – creating satisfying music without the huge amount of stress associated with the ‘classic’ releases. If this leads you to the conclusion that Weapon goes against every standard Skinny Puppy convention, then you haven’t actually heard the album.



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user ratings (56)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
May 13th 2013


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was definitely a grower. It also requires a good system (or headphones) to get the full sound.

Digging: Necropoli - I

Acanthus
May 13th 2013


9543 Comments


I still can't get into these guys, but it's cool to see them still making music and not failing miserably like some of the other core acts of that specific period for the genre.

Album art reminds me of a Venom film box art.

Digging: Falls of Rauros - The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood

Willie
Moderator
May 13th 2013


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really? Even Too Dark Park?

Acanthus
May 13th 2013


9543 Comments


Yeah, to be frank I don't think I even own an album by them. When I was DJing at the industrial/gothic night I always left the older music to one of the other jockeys, it's never been a huge love of mine even though I can appreciate what the bands of that period did for the genre/music in general.

Willie
Moderator
May 13th 2013


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Please check out the album Too Dark Park!!!

bloc
May 13th 2013


34852 Comments


I still can't get into these guys, but it's cool to see them still making music and not failing miserably

I'm with this guy. Not too big on 90's sounding industrial to begin with.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
May 13th 2013


3398 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I haven't heard anything from this record yet. I believe the band hasn't released any single so far. Great write-up, I can't wait to listen to this. Even if I enjoy the latest records (Mythmaker the most), Handover was pretty tame and wished they had gone back to a more abrasive sound. Glad to hear there's some of that included on Weapon.

Digging: Amplifier - Mystoria

Catatonic
May 13th 2013


130 Comments


insomniac, they have released a single. http://www.slicingupeyeballs.com/2013/05/03/skinny-puppy-paragun-stream/

HeathenEarthling
May 13th 2013


89 Comments


It's been too long since I read Sputnik: I thought we only reviewed albums that could be purchased or legally streamed somewhere? Or do the staff reviews play by different rules?

Review is ok, but spends way more time on introduction than actually describing the new album. And "The darkness was gone, the electronic layers were gone and even the electro-goth of The Process was missing" is a rather inaccurate summary of Greater Wrong Of The Right...

Willie
Moderator
May 13th 2013


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yes, staff can write reviews for unreleased albums because we have contacts within the labels to get advanced promos.

The intro is roughly one-and-a-half paragraphs out of four (with one of the paragraphs being the shortest of the four). Not too bad, really.

It's a great summary of The Greater Wrong of the Right if the only thing I'm doing is quickly noting how it was different than the few releases before it.

kitsch
May 13th 2013


5107 Comments


great review man, didnt even know about this. good to see industrial getting some press here.

gonna have to check this

kitsch
May 13th 2013


5107 Comments


>I still can't get into these guys, but it's cool to see them still making music and not failing miserably like some of the other core acts of that specific period for the genre.

like who? most industrial bands from the 80s either quit or continued to make excellent music

HeathenEarthling
May 13th 2013


89 Comments


"The intro is roughly one-and-a-half paragraphs out of four (with one of the paragraphs being the shortest of the four). Not too bad, really."

Your description of the new album begins in the third paragraph, and the fourth paragraph is basically a summary of that and a comment again on public reaction. I suppose this is a matter of taste, but when I read a review of an album I basically ask, "Does this review demonstrate that the reviewer has heard the whole album a few times, not just the samples?" Don't take it personally, I'm just hungry for any information about Weapon I can find, and I haven't seen it reviewed many places yet!

"It's a great summary of The Greater Wrong of the Right if the only thing I'm doing is quickly noting how it was different than the few releases before it."

Sure, I just can't hear how GWOTR lacks darkness or layered electronics. Did we listen to the same album?

Willie
Moderator
May 13th 2013


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've had the album for about a month. My specific description does begin in the third, but, to me, it starts where I stated earlier simply became it's still the same basic sound as the last few releases. I did want to tackle the public reaction issue simply because I do think that nostalgia is playing a part in negative reactions to the current stuff.

It lacks layers and darkness compared to Too Dark Park and Last Rights.

Acanthus
May 13th 2013


9543 Comments


@kitsch - Ministry comes to mind initially

kitsch
May 13th 2013


5107 Comments


alright, i'll give you that. however, i think that the reformed TG has done great, coil was awesome throughout their career, so was psychic TV, and the legendary pink dots, and NWW and c93 and ramleh and many other 'flagship' industrial bands

laughingman22
May 14th 2013


1674 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh shit is this is out!

oh nevermind


Digging: Emma Ruth Rundle - Some Heavy Ocean

Acanthus
May 14th 2013


9543 Comments


I think I worded it poorly, since only Ministry was able to come to my mind.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2013


3398 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@ Catatonic - Oh shit. I wasn't aware of that. Thanks a lot!

DeadToPain
May 14th 2013


694 Comments


I cannot wait to hear the re-record of "Solvent". I still think "Remission" is my favorite, followed by "VIVIsect VI", "Too Dark Park", and "The Process". I haven't really followed much of what they're doing these days since I didn't really dig "The Greater Wrong of the Right", guess I should get on that.



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