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  The Greater Wrong of the Right  
  Skinny Puppy  
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Industrial music is a guilty pleasure for me. Yes, i know that for most of the genre's fans, anger and unhappiness are but a pose to mask the difficulty of dealing with sudden sexual maturity and the influx of hormones that entails; but in the best of the genre there is real passion, and i like that. I like music that expresses an emotion, and let's face it: anger is one of the most common emotions humans feel, and is often the easiest to communicate.

On The Greater Wrong of the Right, long running Vancouver-based industrial band Skinny Puppy are stripped down to core (and surviving) members Nivek Ogre and Cevin Key. There are many guest musicians here as well, although i don't recognize any of the other names. At any rate, to their standard mix of pounding beats, distorted vocals, and soaring synths, Skinny Puppy's assorted guests add a thick layer of heavily distorted guitar. This works to great effect, particularly on the hard rocking tune Pro-test. On this song, Skinny Puppy rmind the world that although Trent Reznor might have made his fortune at this type of music, Nine Inch Nails would never have existed were in not for Skinny Puppy. I liked With Teeth (the NIN album that came out shortly after this disc) a good deal, but Pro-test blows that whole record away...

Another thing i like about this disc is that Skinny Puppy have assimilated some of the more recent developments in music. Not only the metalish guitars just mentioned, but new beats and vocal styles as well. EmpTe uses beats that are more drum n bass than anything i have heard Skinny Puppy use before. On the other hand, the beats in the intro of Ghostman show that someone in the band has been listening to some Autechre. And then on Neuworld, Ogre raps his vocals. Oh sure, there have always been spoken word bits in Skinny Puppy's music, but the vocal stylings here owe something to the hip hop world. Of course, Ogre adds masses of distortion to his voice, but the syncopated delivery is an innovation that comes from hip hop. Interesting.

There are lots of great tunes on this disc, and it is a wonderful album to play loud while driving in traffic. One song that i haven't mentioned, and that i feel i must because it is my favorite on the disc, is Use Less, a song which meanders around during the verses with a decent beat and crunchy keyboards, and then explodes into a fury of driving guitars and multi-person screamed vocals on the chorus. "Are we all so useless?" Ogre rages against the powerlessness that we all feel. Great stuff, really powerful.

This is a solid album from the Skinny Puppy camp. I wonder what they have in store for us next?

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