Al Jourgensen has managed to create a genre early on in his career and according to most has never quite surpassed the classics of the genre he helped to create. In a sense it would be a hard task for anyone to do such a thing. Imagine a 50 something year old man trying to recreate "Thieves" would that be great or sad? I am willing to lean towards sad. So with his 12th album and a new incarnation of a backing band Al has returned.
Many criticize his ability to create a truly visceral record without a Republican candidate in office (see albums such as Psalm 69 or Animostomina, both created and released with a Bush in office). These men and their policies seemed to garner much of Jourgensen's rage at the time. So how will he fare after a brief foray into retirement, a new band, and a Democrat in office? Well, not bad, actually.
The record begins with a distorted spoken word piece deriding the music business. The song blasts open with all the expected Ministry stereotypes thumping drums and staccato guitar riffs supplemented by slight electronic bits. Everything is as it always was all leading up to a spoken outro to the song complaining that he like many other artists are worth more to record companies dead rather than alive. Honestly this complaint has alot to do with the lyrical structure of the record in itself. There is very little to take away from the album in that sense as it is the same Al that we always had. He has always seemed much more bitter and jaded than his years allowed but now he has more than enough years under his belt and just seems to be wallowing in the middle distance between bitter and crotchety old man.
Musically very little is different. That is to say that there is nothing outright wrong with it but very little has changed overall. The addition of Prong mastermind Tommy Victor has done little to change things. Not surprisingly, being that prong has sort of done their own version of Ministry since their seminal Rude Awakening LP. Tony Campos of Static X does little to add to the proceedings either being a suitable but not amazing bassist himself. All the pieces fit together in an almost mechanical way. It seems almost as though the band was working from a blueprint the whole time.
Outside of a few surprises, most of all and S.O.D. cover "United Forces", which throw the listener for a loop by being possibly the fastest thing that the band has done. The band stays consistent allowing a long term fan to jump in and be pleased, if not surprised, by the proceedings. Where this leaves everyone else may be less interesting being that there are better versions of this album elsewhere in the bands catalog.
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