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?