Skinny Puppy
hanDover


3.5
great

Review

by insomniac15 STAFF
November 28th, 2011 | 26 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Skinny Puppy step forward in their new, more accessible sound.

There's a big difference between the manic, drug & rage fueled output Skinny Puppy has released back in the 90s and the simplified, more straight-forward and often melancholic sound of the new millennium Skinny Puppy. Since Cevin Key and Ogre reformed the band they have relied on atmosphere and more conventional songwriting rather than a chaotic yet calculated structure with lots of industrial soundscapes bursting in. As a result 'HanDover' is one of their most quiet albums released.

Whether there are the mid-tempo melancholic tracks like "Wavy" or "Ashas" or the four-to-the-floor EBM/dance numbers "Point", "Icktums" and "Village" they all remain mostly predictable yet fun. But being built on melody and ambiance rather than sonic outbursts doesn't mean they're weaker than their early material. Some of the fans which still wait for a new "Last Rights" or "Too Dark Park" will be turned off by the ever evolving new sound.

However, on 'HanDover', more than ever, there's a slight confusion over who's the driving force behind the music. No doubt Cevin Key is still present, but some of the songs here tend to share the sound and progressions found on OhGr's 'UnDeveloped' (probably "Gambatte" is the most obvious example), and while the frontman's side project started as a different entity in sound it has managed to blend in on 'HanDover'. Whether Mark Walk (which works on both bands albums) and Ogre had a bigger influence over the material or 'UnDeveloped' has been sketched from the bulk of unreleased material that could have been the aborted Skinny Puppy album mentioned in interviews, it is unknown.

Regarding the tracks, none are bad, especially given the band's experience, but there are some highlights that really work."Ashas" is one of them, being a melancholic mid-tempo track dedicated to their late crew member Sasha Coon. Ogre's vocals are top notch here managing to really create a somber mood over the choir-like loop and violin sample that makes it truly sound like a funeral song.

"Village" is Skinny Puppy at their most KMFDM mode with waves of distorted guitars over a typical dance drum pattern and a shout out layered vocals chorus reminiscent of Sasha Konietzko's 'Angst' and 'Nihil' days, while "Point" relies on glitches and sound & vocal manipulation before an simple yet amazing synth pad comes in on the second part of the song almost covering the other instruments and giving the track a new tone and melody to it. "Wavy" includes a beautiful acoustic guitar and atmospheric strings while Ogre's vocals are great, but i can't help thinking of 'Mythmaker's "JaHer" (which in my opinion is on Top 3 best SP tracks), and how this seems rather incomplete put in comparison with it. Still, the song is one of the most enjoyable off the album.

Other tracks like the mentioned "Gambatte" or "Brownstone", may start a bit silly especially on vocals, but the former evolves to a great track that could as well have been included on 'UnDeveloped' and the latter, a story with creepy vocals is the only one that retains the band's early days sanatorium-like atmosphere.

On a negative side, the album's closer "Noisex" is a mourning of their glory days, being a 7-minute collage of soundscapes and manipulated vocals . It isn't as disturbingly chaotic as "Reclamation" or "Download" and not really going anywhere, so it is somehow hard to listen to it for the whole 7 minutes .

Overall 'HanDover' is not the album the old fans expected, but a step forward in their accessible new sound. However, giving the fact that the band's sound has always changed throughout their career, this should be seen with different eyes as a new concept and any release is worth checking out even if the listener is not a fan.



Recent reviews by this author
Yawning Man The Revolt Against Tired NoisesYOB Our Raw Heart
Chihei Hatakeyama Butterfly's Summer and VanishedChurch of the Cosmic Skull Science Fiction
Bong Thought and ExistenceGod Is an Astronaut Epitaph
user ratings (83)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Wizard
November 28th 2011


20186 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Some of the fans which still wait for a new "Last Rights" or "Too Dark Park" will be turned off by the ever evolving new sound.



This sounds nothing like those albums, almost like listening to a completely new band minus OhGr's voice. Band needs to stop making music. Good review.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2011


4539 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks wizard! i think you're too harsh, they still sound ok IMO, they could do better still. i would like to hear after these albums a darker and more sonically abrasive record

Digging: Xiu Xiu - Forget

HeathenEarthling
November 28th 2011


93 Comments


Nice to see someone finally review this. I've been listening to it a lot over the past month, but I agree they have better albums.

Instrumentally, "Gambatte" is very much a cEvin Key track. Mark Walk confirmed on the Skinny Puppy forum that his only contribution to that one was recording Ogre's vocals.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2011


4539 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i didn't know that, i was thinking that Mark Walk had a bigger influence since he worked on Ohgr's album and HanDover. good to know

Acanthus
November 28th 2011


9812 Comments


"Village" is one of the few tracks that doesn't drive me up the wall, band's never been a favorite.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2011


4539 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

listen to Testure or JaHer Acanthus they are amazing :D

linchpin313
November 28th 2011


830 Comments


Need to hear this asap!

Gyromania
November 28th 2011


25383 Comments


I don't get people who don't use the oxford comma. As a result, sentences like this: "Whether there are the mid-tempo melancholic tracks like "Wavy" or "Ashas" or the four-to-the-floor EBM/dance numbers "Point", "Icktums" and "Village" they all remain mostly predictable yet fun." look awkward and flawed. I don't mean to be too harsh, because I do like the content you've presented, but this review is really awkward and there are a bunch of times where you should have used commas but didn't, making this really disjointed.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2011


4539 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks Gyromania, any constructive criticism is welcomed. I will try to remember this for the next reviews

gabethepiratesquid
November 29th 2011


4522 Comments


KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEee

http://imgur.com/duC8k

Eons
November 29th 2011


1743 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Skinny Puppy has always sucked

Digging: Bernie Sanders - We Shall Overcome

psite45
November 29th 2011


275 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I agree with Wizard. the past three albums were a shame to their legendary name and it's time to give it up. I'm not saying they need to stop making music because it's bad, the just need to drop the name and go on as something else because it's not SP anymore.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
November 29th 2011


4539 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Why does everybody consider Mythmaker such a bad album ? Just curious

Wizard
November 29th 2011


20186 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I consider it a horrible album because it feels like they slapped together some really skimpy, dance beats and totally forgot the atmosphere. And the break dance video for the one song on the album...what the fuck?

HeathenEarthling
November 29th 2011


93 Comments


The break dance video was for a song on The Greater Wrong of the Right.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
November 29th 2011


4539 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

that's Pro-Test from The Greater Wrong of the Right, you're confusing them

Willie
Moderator
November 29th 2011


17608 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album took awhile to get into, but now I can appreciate it. It's definitely another new twist in their sound, but it's not bad.



I also have never understood people who try to say that a band should quit just because they're not making music that those particular individuals enjoy anymore. This is good.

Wizard
November 29th 2011


20186 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The break dance video was for a song on The Greater Wrong of the Right



Same shit, different pile. Both albums were pretty bad.



I also have never understood people who try to say that a band should quit just because they're not making music that those particular individuals enjoy anymore. This is good.



That's exactly it and I don't enjoy this brand of electronic music.

Willie
Moderator
November 30th 2011


17608 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

But don't wish for them to break up -- I'll be sad

EvilCashew
June 18th 2012


132 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

In response to the idea of them quitting... While the sonic nature of the band has changed, the concept and meaning behind it has stayed very much Skinny Puppy. I think that's always been a very important side to this band, and the reason Ogre and Key are still with it.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy