The recent albums of Skinny Puppy have seen a shift in direction that many fans have decried as unworthy of being part of such an influential band’s discography. But with a career as varied and unpredictable as that of Ogre and cEvin, a little diversity in opinions is to be expected. With that established, it can’t be denied that the nature of Puppy’s latest venture recalls their 80s work. Weapon is a forced to be reckoned with.
The analog robotics of opener “wornin” would sound at home on Bites—right next to “Assimilate,” in fact. It’s highly accessible to the Skinny Puppy novice, to be sure, but the sense of melody is conveyed well. “illisiT” is a jarring industrial assault of fuzzy bass and retro voice treatments, furthering Ogre’s nonstop commentary of society. “Salvo” is incredibly reminiscent of the Remission era, mixing the analog synths with trademark murmurs and shrieks. “Glowbel” has a bouncy, almost deranged carnival rhythm to it with the addition of the mutated organ piping and gadget beeping. The revamped “Solvent” would be a pointless rendition if it weren’t done with such love and affection for the original. The choice to include it on the album sure does imply that, yes, Weapon is supposed to be a trip back to the early days of Skinny Puppy’s industrial infiltrations. “Tsudanama” is a sludgy current of distortion and static-fused guitars, almost paying more tribute to KMFDM than to Puppy’s own industrial rock experiments a la 1989’s Rabies—it’s a marching, militant piece. “Terminal” is symphonically climactic in its own odd, Skinny Puppy way.
Weapon is as worthy a follow-up to 1992’s Last Rights as any album the band will put out in the future. It’s more cohesive, focused, and familiar to the ears than the rest of their 2000s output has been, and it’s got the grit and experimentation that made the band such a domineering force in industrial back in the day.