Top 10 Skinny Puppy Songs

Skinny Puppy Songs

Feature Photo: swimfinfan from Chicago, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Our top 10 Skinny Puppy songs list looks at the body of work of a Canadian band famed for its influence in the industrial music genre. Formed in 1982, Skinny Puppy started out as a side project of the former drummer of the new wave/synth-pop band Images in Vogue, Kelvin Crompton. Crompton would soon after team up with vocalist/keyboardist Kelvin Graham Ogilvie. The duo started recording songs as Skinny Puppy, with Crompton taking up a new stage name cEvin Key. Vocalist/keyboardist Ogilvie, on the other hand, took up a new name Nivek Ogre.

Skinny Puppy’s Career Beginnings and Breakthrough

Skinny Puppy was born out of Crompton’s discontent with his former band’s new wave/synth-pop sound. Instead, Crompton was more drawn to more experimental sounds. Inspired by outfits like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, Crompton formed his industrial rock side project Skinny Puppy. Crompton, now cEvin Key, started recording songs in his apartment with Nivek Ogre.

The duo would soon start working with producer David “Rave” Ogilvie, who helped the duo with their self-released debut cassette, Back and Forth. Back and Forth saw Skinny Puppy explore the industrial, electro-industrial, and dark-ambient music genres. The band went to release its debut EP, Remission, in 1984. Remission marked the band’s first EP issued through Nettwerk Music Group.

Other artists who have released music through Nettwerk Music Group include Sinéad O’Connor, Family of the Year, and Sarah McLachlan. Remission was commercially successful in Canada, where it was Gold-certified. Some of the best Skinny Puppy songs from the EP include “Smothered Hope,” “Far Too Frail,” and “Glass Houses.”

Skinny Puppy’s Album Releases over the Years

After a successful EP in 1984, Skinny Puppy returned with its debut album, BitesBites is an industrial/electro-industrial rock album featuring nine tracks. Once again, the band enjoyed commercial success thanks to its debut album, Bites, which was Gold-certified in Canada. “Assimilate,” “Last Call,” and “Deadlines” are some of the best Skinny Puppy songs from the album. Bites also included Front Line Assembly founding member Bill Leeb on the bass synth in “The Choke” and “Icebreaker,” and D. Pleven on the bass guitars in “Blood on the Wall.”

Skinny Puppy issued its sophomore studio album, Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse, in 1986. Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse marked the band’s first album to feature keyboardist Dwayne Goettel as a member of Skinny Puppy. Skinny Puppy made an appearance in Brave New Waves, a CBC Radio program to promote the album. Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse is home to some of the best Skinny Puppy songs including “Dig It,” “Chainsaw,” and “Stairs and Flowers.” The music video for Skinny Puppy’s hit “Dig It,” received massive airplay on MTV.

In 1987, Skinny Puppy returned with its third studio album, Cleanse Fold and Manipulate. The album was primarily an electro-industrial rock release. With this album, Skinny Puppy delved more into political themes. “Addiction,” “Deep Down Trauma Hounds,” and “Draining Faces” are some of the most popular Skinny Puppy songs from the album, Cleanse Fold and Manipulate.

VIVIsectVI, issued in September 1988, marked the band’s fourth studio album. The album saw the band delve into animal rights matters. “Testure,” “VX Gas Attack,” and “Human Disease (S.K.U.M.M.) are some of the best Skinny Puppy songs from the album. The band went on tour with Nine Inch Nails as its opening act. VIVIsectVI managed to rise to position ninety-four on the Canada Top Albums chart.

In 1989, Skinny Puppy released its fifth studio album, Rabies. The album was produced by Al Jourgensen, the lead vocalist of the industrial metal ensemble Ministry. Rabies was a success, rising to position eighty-eight on the Canada Top Albums chart. “Worlock,” “Tin Omen,” “Rodent,” and “Hexonxonx” are some of the most popular songs by Skinny Puppy from the album. While Rabies sold over a hundred thousand album copies, members of Skinny Puppy were unsatisfied with its performance.

Skinny Puppy would later return with its sixth studio album, Too Dark Park, in 1990. The album featured some of the best Skinny Puppy songs including “Tormentor” and “Spasmolytic.” Too Dark Park was critically acclaimed, with the Skinny Puppy’s fans regarding it as the band’s proper album after VIVIsectVI.

Last Rights, issued in 1992, marked the band’s seventh studio album. The album was Skinny Puppy’s last LP issued through Nettwerk Music Group. Last Rights was a success in the US, becoming the band’s first album to reach the Billboard 200. The album peaked at number one hundred and ninety-three on the Billboard 200. “Inquisition,” “Love in Vein” and “Lust Chance” are some of the best Skinny Puppy songs from the album. Skinny Puppy went on tour with Godflesh and Thought Industry to promote the album.

In 1996, the band issued its eighth studio album, The Process, through American Recordings/Warner Records. The Process topped the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart, peaking at number one hundred and two on the Billboard 200. The album also peaked at number thirty and forty-eight on the Canada Top Albums chart and Swedish Albums chart, respectively. “Amnesia,” “Cult,” “Death,” and “Candle” are some of the biggest hits by Skinny Puppy from the album. The Process marked the last album Skinny Puppy recorded with Goettel before he passed on.

Skinny Puppy went on hiatus in 1996, only to return in 2003. The band issued its ninth studio album, The Greater Wrong of the Right, the following year featuring an array of artists including Wayne Static of Static-X and Danny Carey of Tool. “Pro-test,” “Goneja,” “Use Less,” and “Immortal” are some of the best Skinny Puppy songs from the album. The Greater Wrong of the Right topped the German Alternative Albums charts, peaking at number one hundred and seventy-six on the Billboard 200.

Mythmaker, issued in 2007, marked Skinny Puppy’s tenth studio album. The album peaked at number two hundred on the Billboard 200 chart. “Pedafly,” “Magnifishit,” and “Jaher” are some of the most popular songs by Skinny Puppy. Mythmaker was followed by the band’s 2011 album, HanDoverHanDover managed to rise to number one hundred and sixty-eight on the Billboard 200. Some of the best Skinny Puppy songs from the album include “Village,” “Vyrisus,” and “Ovirt.”

In 2013, Skinny Puppy released its twelfth and most recent album, WeaponWeapon topped the German Alternative Albums chart, rising to number one hundred and forty on the Billboard 200. The album also managed to rise to position sixty on the Swedish Albums Chart. “Salvo,” “Illisit,” and Wornin’” are some of the biggest hits by Skinny Puppy from the album.

Skinny Puppy’s Other Musical Pursuits

cEvin Key and the late Dwayne Goettel formed a side project industrial rock band under the moniker Doubting Thomas. Doubting Thomas was active been 1987 and 1994, with the duo releasing one album and one EP. Ogre on the other hand was involved in Martin Atkins’ project Pigface in 1991. Nivek Ogre would later on team up with Mark Walk to form an industrial outfit under the moniker ohGr. ohGr has since released five studio albums, with two of the albums making it on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart.

Skinny Puppy’s Legacy

Skinny Puppy remains one of the most influential outfits in the industrial/electro-industrial scene. The band has influenced several artists including Nine Inch Nails, Grimes, Finite Automata, Youth Code, Jonathan Davis of Korn, and Chester Bennington (former member of Linkin Park, Stone Temple Pilots, and Dead by Sunrise). Here we present the ten best Skinny Puppy songs of all time.

# 10 – Amnesia

Opening our top 10 Skinny Puppy songs is the outstanding hit “Amnesia.” The song is featured on the band’s eighth studio album, The Process. “Amnesia” is among the last songs by the band to have featured Dwayne Goettel, who died in 1995. Dwayne and Nivek teamed up to deliver alluring synth melodies. Nivek’s vocals on this song are a little distorted with the band aiming to bring out the innumerable thoughts in the mind of the singer. The song finds the band expressing its deep love for the electro-industrial sound.

# 9 – Spasmolytic

The song “Spasmolytic” is one of the best Skinny Puppy songs featured on the band’s sixth studio album, Too Dark Park. Like most of the songs from the album, “Spasmolytic” has its lyrical theme centered on drug addiction. In this song, the central character craves drugs owing to his addiction. Sadly, his addiction is a little crippling having him opt in for drugs instead of servicing his rent fee, a move that results in his eviction.

The character tells of how his addiction has made him a panhandler to satisfy his drugs cravings. Ironically, the song’s lyrics allude to lead vocalist Nivek Ogre’s attempt to quit smoking cigarettes. “Spasmolytic” is the band’s longest twelve-inch single, running for slightly over thirty-one minutes. Deftones, an American alternative metal band, issued a remix of “Spasmolytic” in 1998. The remix was featured on Remix dystemper and the soundtrack of the 2007 horror film, Saw IV.

# 8 – Pro-test

Coming in at number eight on our top 10 Skinny Puppy songs is the energetic hit “Pro-test.” The song is featured on the band’s album, The Greater Wrong of the Right. “Pro-test” was used as the album’s promoting single. Unlike most of the band’s songs which are primarily industrial/electro-industrial, “Pro-test” features some elements of electronica and Intelligent Dance Music. “Pro-test” finds the band investing heavily in the synth melodies with Mark Walk, cEvin Key, Omar Torres, and Statik giving a taste of their synth skills.

# 7 – Inquisition

“Inquisition” is one of the best Skinny Puppy songs from the band’s seventh studio album, Last Rights. Since its release, “Inquisition” remains a fan favorite thanks to its pounding and aggressive yet beautiful beat. While most of the song’s lyrics on Last Rights are centered on drug addiction, “Inquisition” finds the band returning to themes of animal cruelty like seen in VIVIsectVI. “Inquisition” included a B-side “Lahuman 8,” a song created at the request of the Canadian contemporary dance ensemble, La La La Human Steps.

# 6 – Chainsaw

Number six on our top 10 Skinny Puppy songs list is the rip-roaring single “Chainsaw.” The song is featured as a bonus track on the band’s sophomore album, Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse. cEvin Key and Nivek Ogre are credited with having written the lyrics to lyrics to the song. “Chainsaw” featured Tom Ellard of Severed Heads and the late David Jackson (The Bottle Man). “Chainsaw” finds the band delivering the best of its industrial rock sound. Dwayne Goettel delivers an amazing keyboard tune in this song.

# 5 – Worlock

Rabies, the band’s fifth studio album, is home to our fifth best Skinny Puppy song, “Worlock.” The song uses guitar samples of the hit “Helter Skelter” by The Beatles. “Worlock” also employs a vocal sample of Charles Manson singing bits of “Helter Skelter.” The song is cited by Sarah Taylor of Youth Code as one of the most influential industrial rock hits. “Worlock” has also been cited as one of the best Skinny Puppy songs by the band’s vocalist Nivek Ogre.

#4 – Smothered Hope

“Smothered Hope” is among the earliest releases by Skinny Puppy. The song was issued by the band on the 1984 EP, Remission. “Smothered Hope” was penned by vocalist Nivek Ogre about his pet mouse. Apparently, Nivek suffocated his mouse, Hope, with his pillow. “Smothered Hope” was covered by the industrial metal outfit Ministry and the Swedish speed metal band Cranium.

# 3 – Tin Omen

The third pick for our top 10 Skinny Puppy songs list is the terrific hit “Tin Omen.” “Tin Omen” is among the musical gems featured on the band’s fifth studio album, Rabies. The song has its title referencing the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest and massacre. “Tin Omen” also alludes to the 1968 My Lai massacre and the 1970 Kent State shootings. Al Jourgensen, the lead vocalist of Ministry, is featured on the song’s backing vocals and guitars. Al Jourgensen is also featured in the production of this hit alongside Dave Ogilvie.

# 2 – Dig It

“Dig It” is one of the best Skinny Puppy songs whose impact lives on to date. The song is featured on the band’s sophomore studio album, Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse. “Dig It” has been cited as an influence by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails towards penning the hit “Down in It.” This post-industrial hit was covered by the American electro-industrial outfit Spahn Ranch in 1998. “Dig It” received massive airplay on MTV in the late ‘80s.

# 1 – Assimilate

Number one on our top 10 Skinny Puppy songs list is the hit “Assimilate.” The song is featured on the band’s 1985 debut studio album, Bites. “Assimilate” contains samples of the 1976 thriller film Marathon Man. The song has since its release become among the fan favorites and concert staples by Skinny Puppy. “Assimilate” has been covered by Malaise and Razed in Black.

Skinny Puppy Songsarticle published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022

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