The Greatest Wrong of the Right
For over 22 years cEvin Key and Nivek Ogre have had an odd relationship. As members of Skinny Puppy they pushed the boundaries of traditional rock music, twisted the form and substance of industrial music and released some of the most intricate and experimental music made in the last two decades. However, over the span of their 13 albums together the duo was bickering, brawling and tearing into each other.
The questioning of each other’s musical ability and the death of band member D.R. Goettel caused things to reach toward a boiling point until they called it a day in 1996, amidst bitter feelings and smothered hopes.
Bearing in mind their tumultuous history, one has to scratch their head at the peculiarity of their recent reformation.
It began with a European reunion show in 1999 and has now come full circle with their first album of new material in over 13 years, The Greatest Wrong of the Right.
Over the years, Key and Ogre fed off each other’s animosity to make inventive and harrowing shriek-fused, metallic clanging. Their continued musical experimentation has continued with The Greatest Wrong of the Right. This time around Key and Ogre embrace each other’s talents, working as a cohesive unit marking an experimental departure from anything they’ve done before.
The Greatest Wrong of the Right is a vengeful, fast and paranoid album of bold political observations, broken glass and abandoned hope laced with Ogre’s scalpel cut lyrics and Key’s somber atmospherics. Their familiar industrial din has been injected with heavy carcinogenic doses of quick beat changes and lightning fast guitars, giving the band a new sense of relevance and innovation.
Leading it off is the pounding “I’mmortal” which retains the claw marks of the original Skinny Puppy powdered with acerbic grit.
Long champions of animal rights, Skinny Puppy have now step from the shadows to battle right-wing politics, imperialism and war. “Pro-test,” “Neuworld” and “Past Present” are knock-down drag-out fights against oppression. “Empte” exudes creepiness. It begins with manic percussion that leads into a Prodigy-sounding back beat. Although this song is about being shallow, it is hardly a musical husk. Ogre sings amidst a swirling tapestry of guitars and tilting tambour. “Downsizer,” the album’s best track is the perfect example of how Skinny Puppy has integrated big beats into their traditional guitar-driven sound. “Useless” is haunting and bleak. “Goneja” is a straightforward industrial track with a surreal digitized ragga vocal track from Ogre. The catchy adrenaline of “DaddyuWarbash” is unlike anything Skinny Puppy has ever recorded. Its catchy lyrics, thumping tempo and driving beat close the album with a last gulp of air.
The timing of Skinny Puppy’s return is perfect. It comes at a time when true, unadulterated industrial music has mean mopped up and reprocessed with the gloss of techno-pop and electronic body music. Lyrically, it comes during a time of heightened worldwide anger and divisiveness when wimpy bands with goofy haircuts dominate the loud rock world.
With The Greatest Wrong of the Right Skinny Puppy is living proof that a band can surmount artistic differences and shove back against a world of gloom, austerity and rightist pedantics. Revved up, rested and recharged Skinny Puppy have revamped the sound of the apocalypse.
Skinny Puppy: www.skinnypuppy.com