The first time I heard the band Ministry was in a club. I remember thinking how intense and how angry it sounded both musically and vocally. The song which I came to find out was called “Thieves” and opened with the lyrics “thieves, thieves, and liars, murderers, hypocrites and bastards”. That was, I think, in 1990. The main man and constant in all this noisy creative mayhem is Al Jourgensen and all these years later he is still sounding angry. In fact, from reading his comments on the background to the newest album called perhaps slightly controversially AmeriKKKant he is absolutely bloody furious. One could say it is anti-Trump but he says he is holding up a mirror to ask us if this is who we want to be. I would put it as a bit of both.
Speaking from a UK position I found much lyrically that seemed to apply to here as well. Sometimes the lyrics seem a little over simplified, but with the absolute venom at which he spits them out they become reasonably effective quite a bit of the time.
Musically there is not quite the same speed and heaviness as compared to some previous albums, and in parts is actually more electronic than the most famous albums from around the 90s. There are lots of samples along with scratching and voice overs speeded and slowed down to make the person speaking sound demented.
My Thoughts On The Album
The opening track “I Know Words” reminded me a little of Finnish band Apocalyptica but with samples and effects through it. It is strange and disturbing and weirdly hypnotic.
“Twilight Zone” has such a mix of sounds along with blues harmonica which I think may have been lifted from another Ministry song from the 90s. It is very familiar. The groove underpinning all the spoken word is quite tasty. There are hints of some of their best loved works in this. It is certainly danceable. The chorus of “Where Do We Go From Here” reminded me of the beginning of the old Marillion song “White Russian” although this is very different musically but the passion and worry is evident in both.
“TV5/4Chan” is a 50 second blast of brutality and voice overs that are controversial and likely to upset at least some people. With headphones this goes from one ear to another at some speed. I liked it!
Following that comes a real old school type track with almost death metal growled vocal. “We’re Tired Of It” has lyrics which are near the wire in the opening gambit “Fake! Alternative false realities, fucking insane Christian hypocrisy, he lies” which for me is kind of where I came in lyrically in 1990. Nothing changes, it only seems to get worse, hence the title “We’re Tired Of It”.
“Wargasm” I like the verses of but the chorus is a bit weak, it doesn’t really kick like it should, but the main riff is good and lyrically it hits some marks. Especially “what country wants it next? Not many left to molest” which being from Britain and knowing how we regularly interfere in other countries affairs is a fair way of describing our behaviour.
The title track itself is nicely constructed and has a hint of Rob Zombie about it. It has a groove surrounded by scratching with a very growled vocal. This has the best chorus of all the tracks. The melody is good along with the guitar solo that follows. The ending shows a more sensitive side allowing the guitars to be up front and sing! By no means their heaviest or fastest track but a good piece of music with the brutality more kept within the lyrics.
Even though I don’t rate this as highly as some previous works there is still enough to enjoy and get out of it. I am sure the live shows will be incendiary. His anger still burns and I am glad to see that.
AmeriKKKant is out now on Nuclear Blast.