Welcome to the first installment of “Box Your Ears” – it’s the Heroin Olympics down here on the ranch and I’ve come here to snort Xanax and chew bubblegum – and I’m all out of Xanax. Sadly, this year’s dental derby means no gum either.
While VIVIsectVI has its moments, and i think one can make a case for The Process – maybe – these two albums are both indisputably great. But which one is greater?
Too Dark Park is the last bow of Skinny Puppy‘s the industrial synthpop roots, barely visible beneath the dye job of madness. Last Rights is the emergence of another kind of beast entirely, and the birth pangs of Download.Parts of Too Dark Park – especially “Spasmolytic” – sound like a rock band that’s absolutely losing their collective mind. Which isn’t too far from the truth, really. It’s far more atmospheric than previous works and is a massive upgrade in terms of structure and tone. Ogre‘s vocals feel literally tortured, and sudden shifts – like the breakdown in “Nature’s Revenge” – are damn near majestic. A hideous journey through the darkest depths and all that.
But Last Rights is so much more odd, giving up on traditional structure near the end of the album. Oh hell, it gives up at “Knowhere?” and just tears through dozens of styles, from doom metal’s sludgy dirges to musique concrete (in its original sense) and the flat ambient tones of a life gone off life support and gone totally to hell.
Winner? Last Rights in a TKO. The best Halloween of my life was spent in a chair, staring at the speakers as they documented a lifetime of bad decisions and irreparable regret while simultaneously drowning out the sound of a hundred other college students getting drunk and making poor decisions of their own. Rather than an art piece for industrial fans, Last Rights is a gripping testament to what can be pulled from the human wreckage after life is done fucking with everyone and everything we care about and we’re finally finished crapping on the ashes so we can claim last laughs.
Skinny Puppy’s current incarnation strikes me as absolutely terrible, as can be seen in this joke of a video. Let’s continue to pretend that this is where the dream ended, on the highest of notes.