Feb 2024 15



Format: Album
Label: Artoffact
Release date: February 3, 2024

Doctor Image

Cyberaktif was a legendary project, destined to shine brightly with one album, and then disappear forever. Hailed by fans and with classic status, in particular the “Nothing Stays” single, but still “just” a one off. But then Cevin Key realised that Skinny Puppy was over, and instead sent his Puppy demos to Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber. Thus, the project re-emerged 30 years after its inception.

With help from Cevin Key collaborators Eric Peterson, Dre Robinson and Guilherme Pires, the lads started putting things together. Rhys was working in his studio outside of Vancouver, Cevin in Los Angeles, and Bill was recording vocals at Greg Reely’s studio in Osoyoos, BC.

The updated Cyberaktif sound is not really like anything from the first album “Tenebrae Vision”, which was a lot more Wax Trax-y, if you know what I mean. “Endgame” sounds more like a successful mesh between modern Cevin Key – think newer Download and his solo material – and Front Line Assembly. Which is not really surprising if you think about it. It very much sounds like a perfect blend of each artist involved. And I’m just guessing here, but I’d say Cevin brings his love for quirky, weird sounds (and I’m sorry, sometimes even slightly annoying, like the vocal sample towards the end of “A Single Trace” for example) and song structures.

It’s fascinating how much the vocalist affects the sound. Bill Leeb’s vocals firmly makes certain tracks sound a lot like Front Line Assembly. The big choruses of the album also hints of FLA rather than Skinny Puppy demos, but Cevin has been known to crank out some great choruses before of course.

While some compositions leave me wanting more like “New World Awaits” and “In Deinen Träumen”, which I feel never really gets going, there are some proper “hits” on here. For example “You Don’t Need to See”, which should go down a storm in the clubs with its “Assimilate”-ish beat, great chorus and overall supreme catchiness. Bill’s voice sounds great here too, with lots of effects during the verses, and unusually clean during the chorus. Fantastic stuff!

The star of the show however, is the old school flavoured “Broken Through Time”, with its Puppy-esque drums, percolating synths, fat bass, beautiful strings and a stonkingly great melody. A new classic, this one. The concluding “Splot” is also fascinating in its weirdness. It starts off a bit clunky, but the beauty grows as the song progresses.

Suffice to say, this is a splendid return and I hope they continue to build on this.