Categorized | Music

Mythmaker Review

Posted on March 11, 2007 by Flames

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The Kevins (Ogilvie and Crompton, aka Nivek Ogre and cEvin Key respectively) have been making music for the better part of my life. For twenty-five years, dance floors have shaken and PA systems have whined and protested under the assault that Skinny Puppy launches with their work. In 2004, The Greater Wrong of the Right took me by surprise. At the time of the CD release, the band had been essentially defunct for the better part of thirteen years. Rumors had circulated through the club scenes and across the “better to doubt it than to believe it” discussion forums of the online community-at-large that Key was working with Ogre and Mark Walk on the tour supporting OhGr’s SunnyPsyOp as a drummer.

That rumor turned out to be true. Not too long afterwards, a new Skinny Puppy release was locked in the sweaty-handed death grip of my thick, troll-like fingers.

A tour followed – a long tour, all things being equal – and then all that we thirty-somethings who were still clinging to the resurrected legend of Skinny Puppy could hope for was that the new Puppy release was not a singular event. With the 2007 release of Mythmaker, my fears related to the singularity have been assuaged.

The Greater Wrong of the Right was a glimpse through the keyhole at the musical and sonic evolutions that Key and Ogre have experienced in their time away from one another. The sound was familiar, but it was markedly different. This was to be expected. Both artists had grown and had found their respective levels of comfort with their art forms in the time it took them to reinvent their respective identities outside of Skinny Puppy. Thirteen years later, two very different people got back together and reinvented the outfit that, for many people, was the definitive example of North American industrial music.

Mythmaker, while affording Key and Ogre their individualism as musician and artist and possessing the “updated” sound of the current iteration of Skinny Puppy, reaches back in time. Back into the closets. Back down into some of the hidden holes and shallow graves that the band had dug with their bare hands back in the day when they began pioneering away from Winnipeg and into the faces of the rest of the world, changing the meaningless term of “post-punk” into the force to be reckoned with genre of modern industrial music.

The vocal similarities between Too Dark Park and Mythmaker cannot be denied. Ogre is at his personal best for this effort. Key’s music is stunning regardless of the vehicle he chooses to deliver it… but he has never been as impressive with his side-projects and solo efforts as he has been when he is composing the sounds that are the spinal column of Skinny Puppy. Mythmaker is no exception, and the music he has delivered with this effort is easily a toe-to-toe match for his critically acclaimed solo works such as The Dragon Experience and The Ghost of Each Room.

The movie samples are back (I caught at least one from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”), and while there is some filtering and production on Ogre’s vocals throughout various tracks, they are vastly less harsh and than they have been on past albums where his vocals were rendered inaudible for all intents and purposes. The production and direction of Ken Marshall is absolutely top notch stuff, and Puppy has not sounded quite THIS GOOD in a long time. There just are not any disappointing tracks on this CD. Even the tracks that seem forgettable at first will grow on the listener over the course of three or four complete spins of the disc.

Everything just kind of seems to come together, seamlessly in fact, throughout the ten tracks of Mythmaker. This is one of those Puppy releases that you pop into your player, and before you know it… it’s over. Every track compliments the next, hearkening back to the era of Too Dark Park and Last Rights… but with the overall maturity of sound inherent to The Greater Wrong of the Right.

As I said in the beginning, Skinny Puppy has been making music for the better part of my life. At thirty-five, I’m pretty far removed from the club scene and from the majority of the live shows that I’d like to see. I have a child, a wife and a career now, and while music used to be my obsession – something that came first and foremost in my life – I’m not even sure that it is in the top ten of my current lists of priorities. But when I hear Mythmaker, I feel young again. I feel like I did when I discovered Skinny Puppy for the first time. That is an absolutely fantastic feeling.

I won’t be missing this tour.

The Dog is resurrected and walks among us again.

Long live Skinny Puppy.

Reviewer: Shannon W. Hennessy

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