For most electro-industrial music fans, Skinny Puppy is one of the cornerstone bands of the genre. They have a career spanning since 1983, with only an 8 year break in that time before coming back full force in 2003. It’s clear Skinny Puppy is one of those bands that know what they are doing and know what they want to do musically. That’s why it’s always amusing to me when I hear people talk about ways and how Skinny Puppy “should sound”. Skinny Puppy is one of those bands that are not afraid to change and evolve. With their latest album Weapon, I think there might be mixed reactions among fans. But the naysaying will be from those who don’t hear the history and brilliance buried in the music of Weapon.
I feel most people judge Skinny Puppy albums based around the time they discovered the band. For the young ones out there who are mostly familiar with later, post 2003 Skinny Puppy, Weapon will still speak to their inner Skinny Puppy fan. Many of the tracks, such as “Paragun” and “Plasicage” retain much of the electronic tone the band put down for hanDover. They are filled with harsh, electronic distorted vocals. Heavy dance beats expertly woven with layers of digital noise and rhythms.
Tracks like “Glowbel” breaks things down into more ambient electronic noise, while still maintaining a danceable rhythm. Vocals are a little less harsh, a bit more up front musically and even harken back to Skinny Puppy’s album “The Process” in parts. The track “Overdose” is similar in nature, existing in a state a bit between older and new Skinny Puppy.
Then you have tracks like “Salvo” and “Solvent”. For you fans of older Skinny Puppy, you might recognize that latter title. These tracks, and a couple others also, harken back to old school days of Skinny Puppy. We’re talking Remission-era Puppy. There’s the more sluggish, analog sounding beats mixed with Ogre’s creepy harsh vocals front and center. The vocals are not so buried in the mix and have only minor electronic tweaking. “Solvent” is actually a revamp of the same song from their 1984 album Remission. It’s not a remix version either. It’s the older song, re-recorded with older and wiser Skinny Puppy (and better recording equipment).
And there lies the beauty and brilliance of Weapon. Skinny Puppy was getting there a bit with hanDover, but with Weapon they achieve a fluid and solid combination of their older style with the new. It works and sounds beautiful.