AFM/13th Planet Records
What happened to Al putting Ministry to rest once and for all? It sure does not seem like that lasted very long did it? Anyway, for the record this is Ministry's first studio album featuring new and original material since 2007's "The Last Sucker". Thankfully Al has moved past his George Bush is the devil nonsense and tackles new subjects on "Relapse". Thank God for that because personally I can only take so much political crap out of Al and company. Although, with the country in the state it is these days it does make me wonder why Mr. Jourgensen doesn't take pen to paper and write up some witty material about Obama? There is more than enough out there to fill up several albums. I'm getting off point though so here we find ourselves with another Ministry album to work out some pent-up rage to. And so with this new album Al joins up with pals Al Mike Scaccia (Rigor Mortis), Tony Campos (Static X), Tommy Victor (Prong) and Casey Orr (Rigor Mortis/Gwar) to craft more industrial metal insanity. With opener "Ghouldiggers" Al climbs his soapbox to name check dead musicians in an attempt to show the evils of the industry. It's fairly typical thrash/industrial mayhem and fans of Ministry's last few albums will eat it up. Same goes for "Double Tap" which offers blitzkrieg metal sown together with industry beats and a back edge that could cut through raw steel. On "Freefall" the Ministry gang weave various samples with bloody thrash to leave you feeling a little breathless. I'll give Al is due and say as usual this is pretty intense stuff and he never let's up throughout the album. "Kleptocracy" traces Al's roots back to hardcore bands like C.O.C. and S.O.D. And speaking of S.O.D. the band takes on the classic "United Forces" with pretty good results. "99%" was the first single to be released from the album and I'll let you figure that one out on your own. The title track is more wicked thrash from Al and reminded me of why I was first drawn to the band back in high school. "The Land of Rape and Honey" was my first introduction to Ministry and things have only picked up steam from there as far as Al's rage goes. While he has obviously moved more into thrash metal with each release (check out the sweet mid-song solo on "Relapse" for proof) he does still swim around in his underground industrial beginnings. Now, if there is one drawback to this album it is the same thing that has bothered me about most Ministry album's and that is the same-same quality of some of the songs. Granted industrial metal is like that to me and as much as I like Ministry (their older stuff admittedly) some songs do sound an awful lot alike. Thankfully the extra emphasis on metal riff age helps out. "Weekend Warrior" for example actually slam dances around in traditional heavy metal guitar riffs. Just so Al doesn't get accused of abandoning politics all together he gives us "Git Up Get Out 'n Vote". I couldn't agree more about getting out and voting although it would be nice if we didn't have to count your long-dead relatives vote in the next election. I'm just saying is it that hard to show some form of ID when we vote? Really? Moving on and "Bloodlust" and "Relapse Defibrillator Mix (Special Limited Edition)" wrap up this latest party in nice fashion. With it's mixture of industrial metal and primitive Bay Area thrash Al has delivered yet again an album that Ministry fans will lap up. Is it his strongest work yet like the promo proclaims? Maybe or maybe not depending on your view point. For me it is a solid release with some killer tracks and some I could do without. Then again most Ministry albums are like that for me at least so maybe I'm not the best judge of things. I'm certain of one thing though and that is that this album will sell like crazy especially with all the sense of frustration and loss out there these days. Al knows how to draw people in with his sense of anger and intensity and in a world living in chaos kids will listen to what he is preaching.