Skinny Puppy architects Cevin Key and Dwayne Goettel forge here a disturbing and surreal montage of mutilated sound and fractured noise: a suitable backdrop for vocalist Nivek Ogre's angry and despairing reflections on war, disease, and insanity. "Human Disease" and "Hospital Waste" launch a heated attack on the senses, while "Harsh Stone White" is slow-paced brutal surrealism. "VX Gas Attack" and "Testure" are considerably more direct, with their horrified reactions to chemical warfare and animal vivisection. Through this exquisite clamor an occasional riff or melody emerges, such as in "Testure" and "Who's Laughing Now?," rounding out the overall sound. The latter third of the album is predominantly instrumental noise-sculpture, Key and Goettel exhibiting their lurid arsenal of sounds and programming technique. --Mark McCleery
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(Leif) from CROSS PLAINS, WI
Reviewed on 8/10/2006...
Some of Skinny Puppy's best material, with great bonus songs included on the cd
More like 500 stars
Xander Xavier Xymox | Frederick Co :( | 01/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I wish I could say that I was a fan of them from early on, but unfortunately I only discovered them about a year or two ago. At first I was more into the Too Dark Park style, but then I delved deeper into the remissions era stuff. In between I discovered this gem. This might be the hardest one to get into, but once you do its the funnest one to listen too. Most people would by no stretch of the imagination consider this fun. I still marvel at how much it has changed in my own eyes from when I first heard it. Now I really cant figure out if I like the early stuff more, or this more. Without a doubt I have probably listened to the early stuff more often. This is quite different though. It has all the benefits of a trip without taking any drugs. This Cd is a drug.
VIVIsectVI is like deep man. Its like this. Instead of being a Cd that tells you what is happening. It allows you to reach your own conclusion by taking you on a journey through life's junkyard. The Cd doesn't exist on a musical level. Rather you become the Cd. Instead of lyrics Ogre just shouts poetic thoughts to guide you through the maze of his demons. Sometimes during the more claustrophobic sections you are confronted with different realities. At this point it is up to you whether you are up to reaching the zenith of reality, or to plunge deep in the depths of cathartic reflection. In this case each song is different every time it is played. The song is not a song per se, but a reflection of your own mind. I know that this is a over the top description, but then again this is a over the top Cd. It deserves nothing short than your complete submission. Certain songs that stand on their own are Harsh Stone White, and the classic Testure. One thing that I disagree with is the idea that another reviewer said that this is a pro-israel Cd. I can easily see and understand how he got that impression based on the song VX Gas Attack. I have a different take on the subject matter. I believe that song was more about their disapproval of the fact that we armed Iraq with the very WMD's that we later attacked them for supposedly possessing. That is very true, and it is something I recommend everyone to research. I believe that SP was trying to get that point across based on the live performance of this song on the GWOTR DVD. So whether you are pro-Zionist, or anti-Zionist as I am you can still listen and enjoy this Cd for what it is. Another review that I disagree with is the fact that the second half is unlistenable. Not that it isn't amazingly abrasive, but it is some of the best industrial noise ever! This is Einsturzende Neubauten+Throbbing Gristle multiplied by 10! There are so many dimensions to this that any normal person would cringe at the sound of it. I am quite frankly freakishly enthralled by the soundscapes of this part of the Cd. If you don't get it let me suggest that you listen to it around 4:20. Most mortals could never understand what goes through the minds of Key and Goettle. So for us we need help. I suggest vitamins T, H, and C. Vitamins L, S, and D would be cool except that these soundscapes are not friendly places to take a trip. This Cd proves that SP are on a totally different plane of existence. We can only look on as these geniuses grind, crush, grate, and pound us into oblivion.
Harsh stone white Eyes behold Bruise baths soak Crying bones
Jonathan Dedward | Nowheresville, Slothwestern North America | 09/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1988 Skinny Puppy released what is arguably their most popular and oft recommended album. 'Vivisect VI' is undoubtedly an important recording and undeniably contains some of their most memorable, politically confrontational, and utterly dead-serious messages. Despite that, however, I maintain this is a very uneven work. As a deep admirer of SP's output I have to buck the trend and admit that for me this is not their best release.
"Dogsh.." is the rare Puppy album opener that doesn't rank among their best songs. I've tried to enjoy it many, many times, but it's never done much for me. It's really an OK song, with some dramatic guitar based soundscapes and a morose atmosphere... if it were a B-side I'd probably think of it much more favorably.
"VX Gas Attack" on the other hand is a brilliant dance song. The beat is one of the band's grooviest. Also... the fact that Ogre penned a song decrying Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction back when Saddam was considered one of our political allies is bone chilling. "Harsh Stone White" is a personal favorite. It is slow, dark and rather surreal sounding, not quite as morbid as something from the previous album, but definitely more intense and personal with Ogre denouncing his own cocaine addiction (I think). "Human Disease" is a good follow up: vague environmentalist lyrics mixed with the perfect Industrial-dance beat, heavy, metallic and simple. The last third of the song starts to sound a bit silly with its bombastic synth horns and the tenor Opera sample layered in. Sometimes I wonder what they were thinking to end such a great song with such an unfitting addition.
"Who's Laughing Now?" is another song that does nothing for me. The beat is awkward and overall feels like the type of song the band had done better on previous albums (Mind: the Perpetual Intercourse, Bites). It feels... like generic Puppy filler... if I can be forgiven for suggesting such a thing. Fortunately, the next track, "Testure" more than makes up for it with one of their most unique and sympathetic sounding songs. It's a keyboard driven lament for the plight of the victims of animal testing. Not at all dirge like, as many Puppy laments are, this song is just pretty and sad. And catchy as hell.
Unfortunately "State Aid" and "Hospital Waste" are far less enjoyable. Awkward sounding, unfocused and too cryptic to really convey any message, it seems like Key, Goettel and Ogre started to lose focus a little bit. "Fritter" is much better, a very creepy collage of creepy whispers, growls, and hazy samples... it would have fit in well on 'Cleanse, Fold and Manipulate."
This is where the vinyl and tape version of this album ended... the CD version, released later the same year contains bonus tracks. "Yes He Ran," Punk In Park Zoo's" and "The Second Opinion" are all B-sides from this period. "Punk In Park Zoo's" is probably the best of these, though I enjoy them all more on Puppy's B-sides collection. The final track. "Funguss" is a pretty interesting, chaotic instrumental that I'll give the album credit for.
After so many filler tracks mixed with really really good tracks, the bonus material here tries my patience. When I listen to 'Vivisect VI' I tend to skip around a lot. Because of that I have to score this album lower than most.