Doomsday: Back & Forth, Vol. 5 (Live In Dresden)
The last time Skinny Puppy had left their dark, oily stain on the European continent was no less than twelve years ago. On August 20th, 2001, cEvin Key and Nivek Ogre, the remaining two members of one of the most highly influential industrial acts the genre has ever known, played a one-shot, headlining concert at Dresden’s Doomsday Festival. Archived in digital for posterity, Doomsday: Back & Forth, Vol. 5 stands as a testament to the might of what Skinny Puppy was once upon a time as well as what they remain to this day: a sonic force to be reckoned with.
For a “live” CD, Doomsday is absolutely superb. Completely lacking the “band in a coffee can” noise and distortion inherent to many live recordings and farm club bootlegs that circulate in and out of my personal collection, the music crisp and solid. Ogre’s vocals are, for the most part, more intelligible throughout the duration of the live tracks than they have ever been on many of Puppy’s studio recordings of decades past. Key’s programming coupled with Ogre’s vocals and lyrics come off nothing short of professional for an outfit that has not shared a studio, much less a live stage, in the better part of a decade. The track list of the CD reads as if it were taken from a poll of Puppy’s die-hard fanbase, representing fourteen of the most powerful tracks the band has ever laid down over the course of their thirteen year discography. Fans of The Process, however, will be somewhat disappointed at the absence of any tracks from the last studio album Skinny Puppy ever recorded.
The one thing that I was left wanting from Doomsday was fan interaction; Skinny Puppy has not played a live show since sometime before 1994. While I find it somewhat incredible (although not surprising) that Key and Ogre could slip right back into their Skinny Puppy personas without missing a beat and put on a show the likes of which would make the gods take notice of them, I found it somewhat disappointing that there is no dialogue whatsoever between the band and the audience of the Dresden venue. This concert was a milestone in the timeline of industrial music; a recapturing of a dark, tormented soul that escaped us in 1995, when Dwayne Goettel passed away and the remaining, founding members of the band walked away from one another in animosity and resentment. Time, however, is the salve that heals wounds and makes the heart grow fonder. It certainly seems that this is the case where Key and Ogre are concerned, at least for the duration of Doomsday‘s playing time. It just would have been nice to hear the dog-men speak to us after so many, many years of silence.
A must-have album for anyone who has ever experienced the cathartic therapy found within a Skinny Puppy CD, Doomsday: Back & Forth, Vol. 5 will most definitely leave you feeling nostalgic and wanting for more.
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