What differentiates oHgr from Skinny Puppy these days? That’s a tough question. They both share the same vocalist in Nivek Ogre. They both have Mark Walk. They’re both industrial giants who dwell in our dark psyches creeping out at just the right moments…I could go on, but that would take focus away from the celebration that is a new Skinny Puppy album!

The long gestating and even longer delayed hanDover is finally out and it is a masterpiece of an album that sits proudly on the mantle with the rest of the Skinny Puppy discography. Ogre sounds as amazing as ever (You would know this already if you heard oHgr’s equally brilliant Undeveloped released earlier this year.) as he begins “Ovirt” quietly albeit very sinister above looping electronics. Leave it to Skinny Puppy to follow a slow starter with something even more creepy  (“Cullorblind”) and mid-paced that builds and builds to a distorted crunch that hums like a precision machine in a factory.

The thing I love about Skinny Puppy records is that just when you think you have one figured out, it takes you somewhere else. While a song like “Wavy” is similar to the opening salvo (Except a hell of a lot more spacey and bouncy thanks to the programming and keys), “AshAs” (inspired by former SP live crew member Sasha Coon who passed away) just goes off into the ether and sounds unlike any SP or oHgr song ever put to tape.

While “Gambatte” sounds like something more suited for Undeveloped (Which is said to have taken some bits of an aborted Skinny Puppy album), it is still inherently Skinny Puppy thanks to Cevin Key’s driving beats. “Icktums” continues to up the pace and is sure to be a crowd pleaser in all the goth clubs for years to come.

Before I manage to gab about every song on hanDover, I have to at least mention “Vyrisus” which is just SP incarnate. It’s swirling electronics with razor sharp riffs topped with Ogre uttering the simplest of lyrics but managing to make them sound so intense. It’s everything that’s great about Skinny Puppy and that’s exactly what hanDover as a whole is. Industrial music is indeed alive and well in 2011 and Skinny Puppy’s hanDover is further proof of that.

hanDover is out now. Buy it if you dare.

Grade: A

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