Lost in legal limbo since 1995 when it was originally recorded for Rick Rubin's American Recordings label, former Skinny Puppy frontman Nivek Ogre, in conjunction with producer/programmer Mark Walk, mix techno with modern rock, resulting in the group ohGr and this CD, Welt. A voice sounding like Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks in some mad amalgam of Kraftwerk and Black Sabbath, Welt is abrasive, gruff, melodic, and dark. Opening with the trancey, dancey "Water," the industrial leanings of this duo are evident from the outset. On first listen the album blurs from one tune to the next, but after repeated spins, each song's identity becomes clearer. It is the nature of electronic music to confuse the senses -- Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, released on CD by Buddah, is perhaps the best example of that, and though Welt is certainly more cohesive than Reed's wall of noise, this stuff can still pull you into a vacuum. Does the record work as a listening experience, or is it exclusively for dancefloors? That's the paradox of Welt. Borrowing a page from the Talking Heads' 1979 release, Fear of Music, where eight of the 11 selections had one-word titles, all 11 tracks here have minimal names. "Devil"'s Ozzy-type voice and riff collides with track three, Kettle's keyboard grunge sirens. A tentative machine-shop melody with clever twists and turns, the hook is one of the strongest on the record. This is dark, dirge-like material which would put the '80s band the Human League and their Martin Rushent production underwater, passing Marilyn Manson along the way. "Pore" has a lyric line much like the bubblegum hit from 1974 by Reunion, "Life Is a Rock But the Radio Rolled Me"; "Cracker" boasts the best hook on this record, the incessant "It's an original," followed by one of the more musical vignettes, "Solow." "Suhleap" follows and takes the album further into this dance underground where the keyboards become caustic, but not as difficult as the grand finale, track 11, "Minus," where the noise reaches an unbearable level with a riveting chorus, a constant and tough "We Will Rock You"-type anthem.
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Performance CreditsOhGr Primary Artist
Technical CreditsBill Rieflin Contributor
Mark Walk Producer
Scott Crane Instrumentation
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There is hope for this genre of music again. The style varies and the roots of Skinny Puppy are there. The instrumental noise is brilliant, I am impressed with the creativity. Industrial can be upbeat and danceable, but still dangerous.
Thankfully Kevin Ogilvie returns to prove that real industrial hasn't gone anywhere, it was just hiding under the quagmire of mainstream ''bubblegum'' industrial rock acts like Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie. The industrial we knew and loved is still here and better than ever. Now we just need Ministry to quit being a metal band and for Chemlab to get back together.
I'm a huge Skinny Puppy fan, for the record: Ohgr is not Skinny Puppy. This is a different breed of music. It's oddly upbeat and club-friendly. However, if you peel back the layers and see what's really here... you will be pleased. It's very dark and in your face. This albums makes me think of a little kid hiding a butcher knife behind his back. Sadly a few songs are easily forgotten and even passed over with more plays. Devil is the worst on this album, the message is cool, but the hammered beats are an ear-sore. Cracker is my favorite, with direct blasts going out to artists like NIN, Marilyn Manson and even Eminem. The opening line sums up my thoughts... "You think you're evil but you're not. Still sucking life from the mainstream. It's so diluted give it up."