The Greater Wrong of the Right
One of the most incomparable bands to emerge from the ’80s electronic scene, Skinny Puppy fused industrial soundscapes, synthetic cadences and a unique vocal structuring that proved just how symbiotic music and art can be. Their 12-year existence saw a prolific output (releasing albums almost every year through 1992), until their 1995 recording session for the cursed Process resulted in a dissolution of mythical proportions.
Scrapped together by cEvin Key and producer Dave Ogilvie, following keyboardist Dwayne Goettel’s overdose death and Ogre’s resignation, The Process was a decent patchwork at best. Still, it hinted at the direction Puppy was headed: guitars, sped-up breakbeats and Ogre’s drug-induced rants escaping the grasp of vocoders. Eight years later, Puppy’s epitaph has incredibly yet to be written thanks to The Greater Wrong of the Right. What Process hinted at has come to satisfying fruition, as the opening “I’mmortal” melds electro-fried guitars and drop beats reminiscent of NIN’s “Down in It.” This segues into the breakbeat propulsion of “Pro-Test,” where undulating organs and guitar stabs lend the backdrop for Ogre’s raps to go ballistic.
Not necessarily evolving, but reinventing, Puppy had Goettel’s heavy shoes to fill, thereby recruiting IDM powerhouses Otto Von Schirach and Omar Torres to supply textures and assorted sonics. Their talent is evident on “Goneja,” where Ogre’s vocals and Key’s beats are sliced, diced and manipulated to create a skittering, lush electro epic. Though Skinny Puppy’s immortalized by past efforts like Too Dark Park and Vivisect VI, the band’s illustrious past has grown dated, so an upgrade through additional players is, to fans’ dismay or not, a cleverly chosen path. Longtime fan/Tool drummer Danny Carey visits his inner Neil Peart, lending thunderous acoustic drums to the battle cry “Use Less” and producer/member Mark Walk adds a polished touch to tracks like “Past Present,” Puppy’s hypnotic take on EBM/synth pop.
A worthy effort overall, Greater Wrong shouldn’t be interpreted as a comeback just for the sake of continued relevance, but Skinny Puppy’s re-acclimating to a scene that was so inspired by them to begin with. Hopefully, Puppy’s myth will now be symbolized more by its life rather than its demise.
Skinny Puppy: www.skinnypuppy.com