Guilty pleasures: Skinny Puppy – The Greater Wrong Of The Right (2004)

Share this:

by Tom Johnson

It’s not so difficult to imagine Skinny Puppy continuing to exist through the mid-90s – most of the solo output of the members over that period actually sounded more like Skinny Puppy than the band’s own “final” album, The Process, actually did.

After Dwayne Goettel died of an overdose, the band finished up that album and released it to a world that was rapidly growing sick of the industrial sound. While the album maintained much of the attitude and fury SP was known for, they had begun to absorb more mainstream sounds: Guitars were featured heavily and song structures veered more toward standard rock than ever before. While guitars had been a part of the mixture, they had never been so prominent, not even on the very “rock” Rabies (which featured the influence of Ministry’s Al Jourgensen.) The Process failed to satisfy many fans — which is unfortunate because what’s good on the album is pretty great. What’s not, however, isn’t.

The members of Skinny Puppy disbanded, but the sound continued on as Download — named after a cacophonous Skinny Puppy track from the seminal Last Rites. The first two albums as Download, Furnace and The Eyes Of Stanley Pain along with their accompanying EPs, Microscopic and Sidewinder, respectively, picked up where Skinny Puppy had failed to pick up with The Process, incorporating SP’s penchant for intriguing sounds and angular structures with touches of techno. Later Download albums would explore the techno end of music more as they shed the identity of being Skinny Puppy Part II.

In the meantime, on various other side projects, the Skinny Puppy sound still continued; you can’t blame them for seemingly being unable to get away from sound they helped pioneer. Ogre’s project Ohgr was really a more pop-oriented Skinny Puppy, and his other project Rx with the legendary drummer Martin Atkins was akin to what Skinny Puppy might sound like with less reliance on keyboards and computers: I always liken this to “acoustic industrial.” It then came as a pleasant surprise to hear that Skinny Puppy had reformed for a reunion concert, which was documented on Doomsday: Back and Forth, Volume 5, and only a slightly more shocking surprise to hear that an album of new content was in the works. 2004’s The Greater Wrong Of The Right brought Ogre and Key back into the fold with new member Mark Walk. But was it really Skinny Puppy?

A quick answer that those less familiar with SP might offer is an undoubtable yes. For those who’ve surrounded themselves with their music, you might have had a hard time swallowing some of this as “really” Skinny Puppy. On initial listens, it was obvious the band has been very influenced by much of the edgier mainstream rock; I couldn’t help but think the band really, really likes something as unlikely (for them) as Linkin Park after hearing opening tracks “I’mmortal” and “Pro-test” — the latter of which features Ogre rapping, of all things. And don’t overlook the inclusion of Static-x vocalist Wayne Static on “Use Less,” which also featured Tool drummer Danny Carey.

But you know what? It worked. I was initially taken aback by the new, more mainstream attitude of Skinny Puppy, but once the shock wore off after a few listens, this is an engaging, satisfying album. Putting aside the notions of just what Skinny Puppy “should” be reveals that it’s possible to continue on with a legendary name and not sully the name and image. They rightly chose to follow the vein that The Process started, but they wisely managed to steer clear of that album’s disappointments.

Where The Process felt like a forced reaction to the light, radio-friendly pop that industrial had become in the wake of the massive success of Nine Inch Nails, The Greater Wrong Of The Right feels more like a natural progression — at least from the startling changes of The Process. Skinny Puppy die-hards might have balked at the new, “easier” sound, but those who can look beyond this will find an album that is much more satisfying and enjoyable than one might expect.

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B00020QZMU” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B000S5EGHA” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B00479WMQA” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B001VZC8A8″ container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B000S5CG68″ container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /]

Something Else!

Something Else!

The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Something Else!
Share this:
Close