Skinny Puppy The Greater Wrong of the Right

[Synthetic Symphony; 2004]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: EBM, electro industrial, synthpop
Others: Nitzer Ebb, Ministry, Front 242

Once one of the most prolific bands in the '80s EBM/industrial scene, Skinny Puppy have succumbed, through drug overdoses, contractual nightmares, and creative differences among the band mates, to what I prefer to think of as "Guns N’ Roses Complex." This is a phenomenon which occurs when artists suddenly decide that they're so good that they only need to release an album once or twice per decade. Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, The Cure, etc. are all victims of this affliction. If Kurt Cobain was still alive, Nirvana would be in the same boat. To Skinny Puppy's credit, however (granted, they DID officially break up), it is actually quite astonishing that they were able to assemble their remaining members (all two of them) and record a new album.

The Greater Wrong of the Right marks the return of what will hopefully be musical relevance again for Skinny Puppy. Over two decades into their career, Skinny Puppy have finally come full circle: the type of music at which the band once excelled has once again become popular, through the current wave/EBM revival. The band has only released two albums since 1991's Last Rights, the final album in their string of records released on Nettwerk, which began with 1984's Remission EP. Both remaining Skinny Puppy members, vocalist/songwriter Nivek Ogre and producer/programmer Cevin Key, have had reasonably successful solo careers: Ogre's Rx/Ritalin project, and his most recent solo album, Welt, which was recorded under the pseudonym Ohgr; and Key’s more prolific Download and Tear Garden projects, along with other occasional collaborative efforts as well.

The Greater Wrong of the Right, however, shows Skinny Puppy at the top of their game once again. 1996's The Process was an underrated album which was unfortunately plagued by contractual problems with the band's [then] label, American Recordings, and the death of band member Dwayne Goettel from a heroin overdose just prior to the album's release. The album hinted at a future more acoustic direction for the band. With their new album, however, hopes of the continuation of this direction are banished. The Greater Wrong of the Right, interestingly, is more similar to the first four Skinny Puppy records than The Process or even Last Rights.

Musically, the record is also considerably less dark than the band’s past several efforts. The song lengths are kept to a minimum, and the production feels fresh and invigorated. The sound is distinctively Skinny Puppy, but where other bands plod on interminably, hoping to reclaim the glory of their lost youth, Skinny Puppy remain true to their original style while somehow managing to reinvent themselves once again. No one can suppose how many more studio albums Skinny Puppy have left in them, but if The Greater Wrong of the Right is their Swan Song, it will mark an extremely successful end to the career of arguably the most talented of the '80s industrial bands.

1. I'mmortal
2. Pro-test
3. EmpTe
4. Neuwerld
5. Ghostman
6. d0wnsizer
7. Past Present
8. Use Less
9. Goneja
10. DaddyuWarbash