Spitfire Records, 1995


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I never got into Skinny Puppy in their heyday, even though I had many friends who all but worshipped that band. So why, I asked myself, should I get excited about Welt, the debut disc from ohGr - the new project from former Skinny Puppy member Nivek Ogre?

Then I listened to the disc - and, suddenly, it all became clear. Teaming up with Mark Walk, Ogre is daring to reinvent the concept of electronic/industrial music. This is Nine Inch Nails without the hoarsely-screamed angst - and it's nothing short of incredible.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Granted, it takes a minute or two to adjust yourself to this new approach to electronica. And, granted, you cold argue that bands like KMFDM (with whom Ogre also logged some time) might be the true pioneers of this style. But ohGr takes the musical intensity into a whole new sphere; they turn down the volume of the music a notch without depleting any of its power. That in itself is a neat trick.

What is also a neat trick is that Ogre and Walk make the music on Welt a lot of fun to listen to - another thing one can't often say about industrial/electronica. The backbeat created on "Solow" is infectious, and is built on by a solid vocal performance from Ogre. Likewise, "Water," "Earthworm" and "Chaos" all capture the listener's attention and keep them enthralled throughout the course of the songs.

Normally, I might complain about a CD clocking in at just under 45 minutes, never mind the fact that the length of an album in pre-CD days was about the same. But ohGr seems to know the right time to make their exit, leaving the listener wanting more without overstaying their welcome. This is what "Minus" serves to do as the disc's closer, and it does its job well.

What is amazing is not merely that Ogre and Walk have done something exhilirating with such a well-known form of music, but that this disc ever saw the light of day, the first version of the album locked away in the vaults of a record company who won't be named here. If anything, I'd like to think that the time spent between the different versions of these songs gave Ogre a chance to grow as a songwriter and as a musician. Having never heard the original version of the album, I'm taking a guess here, but I think it's safe to say that he succeeded in ways even he could not have imagined.

Welt is the disc that Ogre has had in his blood all along; we should be thankful that we can now share in that creation. This is a disc that seems to promise even bigger and greater things from ohGr - if that is indeed possible, I can't wait.

Rating: A-

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© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Spitfire Records, and is used for informational purposes only.