It's not easy for me to go ahead and review work by a band that's been producing longer than I've been writing. Since 1982, cevin Key and Nivek Ogre were forerunners of a genre of music that, when they began, hardly existed yet. Industrial music was something new and Skinny Puppy have added much to the genre since their first release in 1984 of Remission. Since then they've inundated their growing collection of fans with new releases, something at least, every year up to 1992 when they stopped producing for a while under the Skinny Puppy name. Among these such classics as Rabies, Too Dark Park and Last Rights are considered to be classics not only of Skinny Puppy - but of industrial music as a whole.
In 1996 the group reformed and released Brap, reawakening the fans to the work of Key and Ogre (although side projects and other musical work did fill the void for some during the interim). Remix Dys Temper* came following Brap in 1998. A few other collections of past work and remixes followed until 2001, when Nettwerk America released their latest - Doomsday Back + Forth Vol. 5. Recorded at their reunion concert Dresden, Germany in August 2000 - a good infusion into the catalogue of work by a band that has helped to forge and create a new genre of underground music since the 80s.
The quality of the album is of the finest. The sound recording, though live, is excellent and clear and doesn't fall prey to the scratchy live recording quality I'm more familiar with. You can hear the crowds, but it's in the background and not overshadowing the music itself giving this release a great sound.
All of the classics are here including favorites of everyones, and my own. Additionally, the songs are as good as they always were, as good as recorded in the studio in past days. Deep Down Trauma Hounds opens this fourtreen track collection, giving a glimpse of their work as far back as 1986's Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse. Other favorites you'll find here include Testure, Worlock, Love In Vein and more.
I'll be keeping this one as it serves a number of purposes - a classic collection from a classic band. And a live edition from a concert that I'm sorry I couldn't have been at. Where this reunion will further take Skinny Puppy is unknown - it's common knowledge that Key and Ogre have their hands in multiple musical pies. But if this is the end of Skinny Puppy's career, it's a fine closing epitaph to what the group has done for this genre of music - and music in general. Very few bands can claim the type of influential breadth as Skinny Puppy can.
* Reviewed in Legends #87.