Skinny Puppy has been dead* for about six years now, and for most of those years Puppy vocalist Ogre and his homeboy Mark Walk have been trying to release their album WELT**. Problems at Rick Rubin's American Recordings label prevented the album from being released; in the meantime Ogre and Mark were able to strip out any of the Rick Rubin influence (probably lots of crappy metal guitar) and re-mold an album more in the vein of 80s synth-pop than 90s metallitechno. Listen to WELT and you'll hear shades of 80s performers like Gary Newman, Heaven 17 and even Twitch era Ministry and Pretty Hate era Nine Inch Nails (1989 dude). 90s groups like Orgy, Deadsy and the Moog Cookbook also come to mind.
Despite Walk's gritty production and Ogre's cryptic lyrics, WELT is a classically structured, hook saturated POP album. Fans expecting Skinny Puppy version 2.0 will either be greatly disappointed or totally overjoyed. Me, I'm about as happy as a New Jersey "Soccer Mom" test driving a brand new Lincoln Navigator SUV, and folks that's about as happy as happy gets. After 5 years of mediocre KMFDM guest appearances, a never-ending parade of sub-par Puppy rarities and remixes from Nettwerk, and the million or so piece of shit Skinny Puppy rip-off bands, I'm ready for a change.
OhGr's instrumental sound is a blend of FAT, low-fidelity synthesizer riffs, electric screams and one-dimensional but funky drum machine beats. Prepare to hear every word Ogre sings. He's turned down the distortion to a level where you can discern and memorize the lyrics, and even sing along.
Devil and Solow are Gary Newman at his best; of course this isn't Gary, it's ohGr. Mark lays down HUGE synth riffs and you can hear Ogre's every word: something about him needing a surgeon because the devil's in his eyeball (you can hear every word, but good luck comprehending it).
Kettle and Minus are genuine Ogre CLASSICS, right up there with Dog Shit, Smothered Hope and Tin Omen. MAMMOTH synth riffs rip, rock, stab and tear like pile-drivers; bang your head in slow-motion.
Lusid and especially Earthworm are shockingly funky! These songs should rule every G/I dance floor for months to come. Get out on the dance floor - no excuses! To quote Ash***: "Groovy".
Cracker appears to be a refreshing DIS of Ogre's genre-mates: "You think you're evil but you're not, still sucking life from the mainstream, it's so deluded give it up."
Chaos digs up the classic Puppy sound for a few seconds and Sleep sounds like a hyper-kinetic Cure song from the Lets Go To Bed era.
WELT is, without a doubt, Ogre's best album since Too Dark Park and the best "Industrial" album to be released in many years. My hope is that WELT will breathe life into a dying genre.
* Lets forget about the fact that they played a show last summer, or they fact that they'll probably do it again soon.
** WELT (when WE all Learn the Truth, or something like that) was originally a collaboration between Jersey Shore Aggro-industrialists Abstinence and one of the guys from Killing Joke. The guy from Killing Joke and Ogre worked together on some Pigface albums/tours and somehow Ogre claimed the WELT as his own. Shortly after that WELT became Ogre and Alain Jourgensen's project. If you find a picture of Jourgensen from the pre Psalm 69 era you'll see a tattoo on one of his arms that reads WELT (since then he's had it covered up). As none of these people can tolerate each other for more than a year the WELT project died for some time only to be exhumed recently by Ogre and re-mixer Mark Walk. (Recycled from my old review of ReMix Dys Temper.)
*** From Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness
Web: www.spitfirerecords.com, www.ohgr.net