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.
Years Active: '90s, '00s
Nivek Ogre was the snarling voice behind Canada's fierce industrialists Skinny Puppy, and after their demise in 1995, he was already tinkering around with various music projects. Together with producer Mark Walk (Pigface, Ruby), he designed the unit called OhGr. The new moniker, which had been in the works just prior to Skinny Puppy's end, did not see the light of day until the late '90s due to contractual drama with Rick Rubin's American Recordings. Ogre had anticipated releasing the debut album... Full bio