Episode III: Revenge of the Myth
The longest stage of Skinny Puppy’s careerâ€šÃ„Ã®the early Nettwerk Records days of “Dig It” and VIVIsectVIâ€šÃ„Ã®defined their underground musical activism with grotesque imagery and obtuse electronics. Later, mired in addictions (which robbed them of Dwayne Goettel) and internal rifts (which pushed away Nivek Ogre), they made impenetrable industrial jazz and company-line aggro-electro. Now on Mythmaker, their second release for Synthetic Symphony/SPV, cEvin Key, Ogre and Mark Walk sound positively reinvigorated.For this we can thank President George W. Bush. Though Canadian in origin, Skinny Puppy always kept a watchful eye on many forms of worldwide decay. Mythmaker broadly addresses media and culture control and manipulation, but it’s no coincidence that recent trends in American society and politics intersect the band’s timeline for focusing their anger to a finer point than it’s been in years, starting with 2004’s The Greater Wrong of the Right.
Still oblique and dour, Ogre at times clarifies his songwriting to take the piss out of the religious right (“Sodom is saving, Sodom is destroying,” from “Pasturn”) and those satiated by mass-media garbage (asking in “Politikil,” “Are you up for the suck?”). Key’s soundscapes continue to veer towards actual melody and verse-chorus-verse structures, although he and his mates spend a great deal of time glitching and distorting in the fashion of past successes like Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse.
Does this make Skinny Puppy’s third incarnation a return to old form, the development of a new form orâ€šÃ„Ã®as some diehards would argueâ€šÃ„Ã®formless? We argue for the second option, although Mythmaker will force fans to take sides and make choices. In that respect the first option holds, and holds well.