Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Electro Classic Jukebox: Skinny Puppy.

Well! I had so much fun revisiting the EBM stylings of Front Line Assembly, I felt I had to make a return trip for the sole purpose of bearing homage to fellow Vancouverites Skinny Puppy. Formed as an experimental side project by cEvin Key whilst he was in a new wave band called Images In Vogue in 1982, it became a full-time project when he became disillusioned with his band's music - and when Nivek Ogre came on board as vocalist. After the initial release of a cassette demo Back and Forth in 1984, they signed to Canadian label Nettwerk and put out (in the same year!) their debut EP Remission - which let the world know they were a force to be reckoned with. And *poof!* just like that, Skinny Puppy (widely is believed to) had given messy birth to a new genre - electronic industrialism. And bully for them - 26 years later Skinny Puppy is still churning on, delivering shockingly disturbing metal-based electronic horror that has the power after all these years to still blanche the spirit. I think one aspect of Mssrs. Key and Ogre's brainchild that gives it its oomph is that they have consistently wore their severed, blood-spattered hearts on their sleeves; they have a lot of energy and, if you've ever seen their videos or have gone to one of their shows, they proudly debase the whole meaning of where their vicious style of electro-industrial ends and where death metal begins to seep into the works like a dripping, infected wound. Blood spatters. Horrible images of death, decay, and torture are emblazoned on giant screens. Self-mutilation. Evil iconography. Lyrics about murder, animal experimentation, politics, genocide, mutants, and villainy. Aggressive music that flies in one's face, challenging. So I got to thinking: with Halloween a scant four days away, I'd share some of my favorite Skinny Puppy tracks with you today. Enjoy!

Here, from their 1984 debut Remissions, is "Smothered Hope." I think this was the first song of theirs I heard. I think Ogre's distorted vocals and the nearly poetic stream-of-consciousness lyrics sound fucking fantastic together.

skinny puppy
"smothered hope"
remissions ep

From 1986's Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse, here's "Dig It." When Ogre and friends chant "Dig it! Dig it! Execute economic slave!", I have to admit, I bang my head a little. Such anger in this track.

skinny puppy
"dig it"
mind: the perpetual intercourse

From Vivisect VI, released in 1988, here's an epically disturbing and horrific track about animal testing and torture called "Testure." WARNING: INCREDIBLY DISTURBING VIDEO. I've always been curious as to where the opening sample comes from: "I hope you make sure we're properly dead before you start, old rip beak!" Freaky shit.  UPDATE: Have located source of the above sample. It is taken from the 1982 animated film Plague Dogs, a super-depressing adaptation of Richard Adams' (Watership Down) novel of the same name. The entire quote, from dear, hyper-active Snitter - speaking to his fellow escapee Rowf: "Have you ever thought, Rowf ... that we won't need food when we're dead? Or names for that matter. I wonder who the buzzards will like best, you or me ... I hope you make sure we're properly dead before you start, old rip beak!" This film will make you weep.

skinny puppy
vivisect vi

Last, but most certainly not least, from 1985's Bites, is what is probably Skinny Puppy's "danciest" single, "Assimilate." I certainly know it was very popular at The Church and other gothic clubs I frequented in the early '90s. As a treat, here it is being performed live! Check out the visuals that would accompany them on tour. Disturbing, but not as disturbing as "Testure," that's for damn sure.

skinny puppy

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