Skinny Puppy: Weapon review

\"Weapon\"It’s always refreshing when an artist whose career spans three decades can still surprise you by putting out something new that not only merits a listen, but demands it. Industrial pioneers Skinny Puppy have done just that with the release of their new studio album, Weapon, an album that finds the band going back to their roots and expanding on their vintage sound. While it’s not a concept album, the disc as a whole is a commentary on modern day gun culture and its effects on today’s society. It picks up where 2011’s Handover left off and takes it to the next level. Weapon is the band’s fourth release since their reformation and their 15th overall and is hands down the best thing they have done since 1990’s Too Dark Park. The band is made up of long time members, Key & Ogre, who are joined by Mark Walk, who like the other two, plays several instruments on the cd and live. Much like Skinny Puppy albums from the past, Weapon deals with very serious subject matter like gun violence, censorship, politics and religion  with an unabashed head on approach. From the opening notes of “wornin,’” it is abundantly clear that the classic Skinny Puppy sound is alive and well but there is something new here too. It is slightly heavier with a kind of Rammstein edge. “illsiT” has a excellent groove and a better than average electronica voice over. “salvo” and “gLowbeL” expand even further on their already unique sound by adding a Ministry-type element on both the vocals and musical style. The reimagining of “solvent” from the “Remission” cd may be better than the original and is one of the true treasures of the album. “parrgUn” is driven by a very cool guitar groove and sounds like something off the Rob Zombie remix cd. Up next is “survivalisto,” who’s’ old school feel is reminiscent of 80’s techno. “tsudanama” & “plasiCage” are both magnificent heavy tracks, overflowing with that vintage sound that have a slight Marilyn Manson vibe to them. They are also two of the strongest tracks on the disc. The album closes with a slower moody song called “terminal” and if the album has a weak point, this would be it. The bottom line would be this- if you are a new or old Skinny Puppy fan, this is the album you have been hoping and praying they would make for quite some time now. The wait is over and it was well worth it; this is without a doubt, the best thing this band has done in years. Rating: 8.5/10. -Eric Hunker