Skinny Puppy new CD “hanDover”

Filed under: Goth Stuff,Recorded Music,Reviews — doktorjohn November 23, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

Skinny Puppy/ hanDover/SPV
By Doktor John

This is the 11th complete album by the preeminent electro-industrial group, Skinny Puppy, and is comes across as an unfortunate mellowing-down of the style of this usually boisterous, eccentric band. SP has a tradition of naming their songs with puns and neologisms. Thus we find tracks with names such as like Ovirt and Cullorblind, but I wouldnt suggest you try to find the hidden meanings.

Overall the album is a languid collection of plodding, mournful tracks with reduced rhythm complexity, slowed cadences and toned-down lyrics when compared with the established SP oeuvre. There is conspicuous absence of the delightful and puzzling sound-samples from movies and TV that used to add an element of uniqueness and artistry to SP’s prior albums.

Most of the songs tend to trip along never approaching a climax. Tracks three and four would actually make great backgrounds for falling asleep. Occasionally the rhythm breaks into a light gallop or even a rapid-fire pace. Beats in the track“Point” take the form of recurring electronica derived from video games or perhaps Star Wars weaponry, the effect of which is sadly cheesy.

Dont get me wrong. Theres much in hanDover that has SP’s signature sound. Vyrisus, by far the best track on the album, revives a familiar SP musical device, starting with an eerie, high-pitched note that hangs, drone-like, suspended over a complex and hypnotic rhythm, then is laced with Ogre’s vocals which alternate between a growl and a harsh whisper. But the next track, “Village” morphs into a clone of something by My Life With the Thrill Kill Cult with its driving drum-machine beat. HanDover concludes with “NoiseX” over seven tedious minutes of chaotic sounds having neither a rhythm nor a melody. Many of SP’s better albums traditionally include just such a wastebasket track with leftover noise.

The formula for the album seems to have been to put Ogre’s (Ohgr’s) solo work into a blender with the recent album Mythmaker. This album unfortunately has no breakout special hit single, no powerful or explosive track. There is no delicious melody worked into an industrial soundscape as can to be heard in bygone masterpieces such as “Warlock,” “Addiction” or “Killing Game.” But it is good, serviceable if somewhat mediocre industrial music still bearing the SP flavor, and it is, at the very least, acceptable to the fan base. I have no idea, however, why they would go to the trouble of producing hanDover.

In a word: Uninspired
Rating: B-
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