Ministry, Relapse

I’m a Ministry enjoyer (not quite “fan”) from 1986– through the genuinely great albums (The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, Just in Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up (live), Psalm 69), and the self-indulgent crap (most everything else, with a few exceptions).

Way back in said 80s, in French III (shut up!), a guy beside me, Kevin, told me that some band called Ministry was on “Miami Vice.” They played “The Land of Rape and Honey” in the background of a drug-dealing scene (couldn’t find it on YouTube; if you can, hit me up in the comments and I will speak well of you in the future).

We intro with a self-indulgent spoken word intro for two minutes before “Ghouldiggers” kicks in– but it’s pretty cool once it does. All automated, slightly-too-fast-to-dance-or-workout-to tempo with an “I’m not dead yet!” refrain….

There is noticeably more mordant humor on this release, compared to previous releases, when the dominant emotion was outrage or anger…. which is kind of funny, considering tracks like “Double Tap” are noticeably more aggressive than previous tunes… maybe it’s like Clarice Starling’s (in the book) observation of Dr. Lecter– “It was as if committing multiple murders had robbed him of lesser rudenesses….” It’s as if the increased energy and aggression on Relapse gave Al some semblance of a sense of humor, however flimsy….

And yeah: there’s tons of fucking samples from movies and God knows what else, but once the songs start… mmmmmm, they’re usually pretty cool. Case in point: “Freefall,” which, after a minute or so of samples, kicks off with blast beats, and this industrially, sounding not unlike Anaal Nathrakh (somehow inspiring to see that even in middle age one can become even more aggressive)….

“Kleptocracy” starts with sludgy riffs and becomes an earworm of a tune during the chorus– easily the most memorable one here so far….

The next track, “United Forces” is a freaking SOD cover…!! And this even heavier than the 1985 original from Scott Ian, Danny Lilker and company, and with a brief nod to the “March of the SOD” riff at the tail end of the song….

“99 Percenters” is the single from Relapse, and is pretty memorable, nay: catchy, and easily danceable… the subject matter and lyrics are fairly trite and obvious, in a preaching-to-the-choir way, but it’s still an interesting tune overall, in a heavy-Depeche-Mode fashion… “Relapse, “”Weekend Warrior” and “Get Up, Get Out n’ Vote” are forgettable filler, loaded with generic industrial riffs and expected samples… “Bloodlust” sounds like a southern-fried sludge tune, à la Eyehategod-via-computer, and is pretty freakin’ cool in its swangin’ rhythm….

All in all, often forgettable, phoned-in industrial filler– but when Al and Co. hit (as referenced in the above singles), they totally hit it.

You know– as in pretty much all Ministry in the last 15 years.

Come on, Al– write a full album of your best. Lean and mean, a 2% bodyfat UFC badass of an album. Show these 20-year-old dipshits how it’s done.

In the meantime:


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