Skinny Puppy

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VIVISectVI Review

by Bradley Torreano

Even when the industrial revolution happened, few North American bands sounded as manic and dense as the mighty Skinny Puppy. Tackling unpopular political topics, blurring distorted vocals into synth lines, sampling news broadcasts and horror films -- these were the tactics that Skinny Puppy utilized on VIVIsectVI, one of their true masterpieces. It takes multiple listens to the album to even get to the songs underneath, but once the sonic wall has been punctured it is easy to hear why Ogre is so volatile. His rants, which alternate between a lazy drug moan and a harsh screech, were one of the few in the genre that actually sounded poetic amongst the noise and beats. He can completely carry a noise collage and transform it into a brooding song ("Harsh Stone White") or he can stick to a fairly normal song structure and simply scream his lungs out ("Human Disease (S.K.U.M.M.)"). And the music is absolutely confounding, constructed out of sounds and noises that somehow never seem overbearing despite the sheer amount of them. The most important lesson that Skinny Puppy teaches here is the lesson of variety. VIVIsectVI is still a challenging, multi-layered album years later because the music never stays still. The beat will just disappear, Ogre's vocals will suddenly go from a whisper to a scream, everything will disappear but a creepy sample, then the song will kick back in with a different beat and a new synth part. And that's just "Who's Laughing Now?," one of the true classic industrial songs of any era. No album by this band is easy to start with, but this is easy to keep listening to, if only to absorb everything that happens on each track. Anyone with an interest in the genre should not overlook Skinny Puppy, and this is one of their shining moments.

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