After a string of post Goettel overdose, post-The Process niche but mostly mediocre albums
(The Greater Wrong of the Right, Mythmaker, Handover) Cevin and crew return with what is
arguably the most Skinny Puppy sounding album since Cleanse, Fold and Manipulate. Also it
just happens to be excellent.
Skinny Puppy's complexity always sounded best as a kind of Canadian, white boy, junkie
answer to early Public Enemy. Heavy with samples, noise, dissonance and odd loops, their
best work overwhelmed the listener with stimulation but also soothed with cold, distant
melancholia (VIVIsectVI). But when in the late 90s the band went hi-fi a lot of the charm
of the noise was lost. Everything sounded a bit too simple, normal, pedestrian. Where once
they were pioneers, now thanks to better computers, cheaper synths and greater access to
knowledge everyone has access to the same tools. Chances are there are Skinny Puppy
presets available somewhere for download.
With Weapon, however, Key, Ogre and Walk have intentionally stripped back the timbre
pallet and focused instead on melody and word play. And it simply works. There is sense of
self-reflexivity in the deliberately restrained strength. Skinny Puppy finally sound
relevant again, that is to say, unique and in an uncompromised, unemulated state of their
own. Eighties industrial has never sounded better nor more modern.