"Handover" is absolutely my number one album of the year... I'd say the tracks that have made the best impressions over the last week are:
Gambatte - An odd, up tempo little number with some great, dynamic vocal work from Ogre and some cool proggy synth work with a climbing synthetic organ solo in the chorus. Really interesting, danceable, and catchy track.
Icktums - Upon my first few listens, I wanted to liken this song to something you would have heard from VNV Nation off of either their Advance & Follow or Praise The Fallen records. After a minute or so of some pretty straight forward modern industrial, the song takes some interesting choices in direction, creating a monster truly of its own. Total and utter powerhouse track, and sure to be a hit in the live environment.
Ovirt - Incredible opener, and maybe the "best" song on this album. It's very much a throwback to the Mind era of softer, more atmospheric soundscaping, with a vague semblance of verse/chorus/refrain. Deep bass synth lines, modern blips and bleeps, Ogre crooning like only he can nowadays, and just absolutely brilliant programming of it all carry this one to soon-to-be-classic territory. This opener should be a pleasant surprise to anyone checking out this band for the first time and expecting absolute sonic chaos right from the get go.
Point - Ever wanted to hear Skinny Puppy try their hand at dubstep? Me either, and it seems like they really didn't, as well... as soon as you might be able to identify this as a modern club track of dubstep "droppiness", Cevin Key takes the concept, rips it to shreds, sets it on digital fire, and produces another onslaught of Skinny Puppy creativity. Should be another great live track.
Ashas - Another relatively slow, moody piece. Cevin Key puts together an image of what sounds like a society in decay, the settings almost weeping to the listener in mourning, as Ogre lays over some of his better lyrics of the last few years. What really takes this song to the next level is Ogre's incredible vocal performance. This is without question, the best Ogre's voice has sounded as a traditional singer on a Puppy track.
Wavy - Yet another moody atmospheric piece, there is a shared guitar sample to a song from their last album Mythmaker which smoothly transitions into a bassheavy, down tempo number that really envelopes the listener in the depth of the mix. Great programming from Key, yet again.
I'm leaving a few out, not because they're not great, but because they've not quite resonated with me as much as these have. "Village" is an industrial political monster that sounds fit for a Puppy concert, "NoiseX" takes their IDM backbone and throws it directly into the forefront in this instrumental closing track, "Collurblind" sounds like the band's "safe" song for a potential single, "Virusis" is solid piece of work that really forces you to listen to the subtle changes in the mix, and "Brownstone" is an Ogre penned, creepy little fable about all sorts of depravity with a definite tongue in cheek delivery, over top of a really unsettling, yet oddly pulsating track from Key.
Top album of the year for me, so far, this is easily better than the bands last three albums "The Process" from 1996, " The Greater Wrong Of The Right" from 2004, and "Mythmaker" from 2007. So, it's very fitting and congratulatory of me to say that this is the best album the band (or any of Key or Ogre's solo stuff) has put out since 1992's "Last Rights", which firmly sits in my top 10 albums of all time. This is Puppy, back with a vengeance, and really doing things that no one else is doing in electronic music. Easily, the most relevant industrial artists still going today (with Einsturzende Neubauten, but they're so far off the beaten path, you can't call it industrial under any qualifications anymore), Ogre and Key have really poured their heart and soul into this oddball masterpiece. This is an album truly deserving of attention even if you have reservations on this band and the genre they are most often associated with.
Bishop T Approval Rating of ****3/4 out of a possible 5.
Watch The Throne didn't make that list because it's f*cking awesome.
And I actually agree with a lot of what Derogatis has on there, but it doesn't change the fact that Jim Derogatis is a fat turd.
I was actually wondering how long it would take for you (or someone else) to step in and defend it. It's not a bad record but it's also not the end-all-be-all that I had hoped for.
Derogatis is what he is. A critic. Sometimes he's on the mark sometimes he's not. I think this round he found that mark. There are some albums on that list that I totally love .. but I can see where he's coming from.