Review: ohGr

(Spitfire Records)

Former Skinny Puppy frontman settles down into his craft.  A more focused assault of electronic pushed and distorted sonics.  While Skinny Puppy was mostly experimental and abrasive, ohGr shows a great collaborate effort and resulting madness of the partnership between Ogre and producer/partner Mark Walk.  Actually, this resulting madness was originally conceived and some version recorded in 1995, but was involved in label turmoil (Rick Ruben’s American Recordings Imprint) so the project was shelved until the re-record clause was up.  5 years later, and with the benefit of reworking the ideas, an extremely well thought out and executed “Welt” is the result.  Taking song writing tips from the Gary Numan / Trent Reznor (NIN) camp, “Welt” offers many tracks of cohesive and challenging arrangements while maintaining a loose “song” approach.  So rather than an elitist electronica album that appeals only the ex gobbling raver set, ohGr taps into the vein of crafting songs with dissonant sound that Nine Inch Nails helped bring to the mainstream masses.  Does this mean ohGr will have the next more requested video on MTV?   Hardly.  The neurotic vibe that always followed Skinny Puppy keeps this dark and beautifully uncomfortable.  Tints of bands ohGr has either been in or helped produce (KMFDM, Revolting Cocks) can be readily heard.  The UK pop lilt of “Earthworm” set against toybox breakdowns shows the willingness of this endeavor to walk the line of the catchy radio hook.  “Pore” is a party stopper with some crazy video game from hell distorted intro and funky robot attitude (not to mention the INSANE vocal repetition/rap break in the middle – gotta hear it to even comprehend).  The amazing part of this CD is there isn’t a wasted track here.  And rarely does such a thickly electronic dominated sound able to maintain movement and hook without just looping it into your drug soaked brain.  “Welt” entertains as well as challenges.  The shameful thing is it’s just too damn smart for the radio when this is exactly what the genre could use as a dose of credibility.  (And with cover art by Roman Dirge who does the “Lenore – The Cute Little Dead Girl” comics, and described by Ogre as “a strange little human dog creature forced to stare at its own spine and brain” – this qualifies as worthy endeavor for your collection).