i lost my soul to the look in your eyes

 

Ministry

 

If you can believe it, I actually like these guys somewhat. Their monolithic, screaming trebley wall of sound actually produces some neat tunes from time to time. And the "singing" is usually so distorted you can't tell what they're saying (believe me, from what I can figure out, that's a good thing).

lineup: Al Jourgenson (vocals, keyboards, guitar, programming, etc) and Paul Barker (pay no attention to the man behind the curtain). I think. I dunno. who cares? (that's professionalism, folks)

review index: With Sympathy / The Land of Rape and Honey / Psalm 69 / Filthpig

missing albums: their discography's kind of confusing. I think the only regular albums I need are Twitch, A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, and some post-Filthpig album which I'm not wasting money on.

apex: Psalm 69
nadir: Filthpig
overlooked: With Sympathy


...reader comments...

Dan Hayden (offandgone@hotmail.com) wrote between jello shots:

Blasphemy! How dare you give ministry a bad rating!! There are the phinest fcuck heads youll ever see. ?Death to sobriety, death to fags! death to you most of all!!!!

Cole Responds:

Yes, I am a sober fag, but I have a positive self-image.


With Sympathy - 1983

Rating: ***
Best songs: Effigy, I Wanted to Tell Her, Revenge
Worst songs: Work For Love, What He Say, Here We Go

 

If you can believe this, before becoming a loud plodding industrial band, Ministry played synthpop. Really! It's like Depeche Mode or something. And it's damn catchy at times. Absurdly generic, maybe, but catchy. Catchy and fun. Have I mentioned that it's catchy yet? For once in his career, Al Jourgenson sings instead of screams, and he has a pleasant, faux-English-accented voice.

So uh, there are songs on here. "Revenge" and "Effigy" are bopping numbers that give me an urge to put on black lipstick and nail polish. (Aren't goths silly? To quote Tennant/Lowe, how can you expect to be taken seriously?) Also, "I Wanted to Tell Her" (once it gets going) has some nice female vocals and stuff.

Badness: "Work For Love" and "What He Say" are ingratiating as fuq. Side two on the whole isn't as good as side one. Doesn't matter anyway, you're gonna find this one in the dollar bins with the T'Pau 12" singles, so you might as well try it out.


The Land of Rape and Honey - 1988

Rating: ***
Best songs: Stigmata, Golden Dawn
Worst songs: uhhhhh...

 

Oh, so Al figured out that catering to the wussy goth demographic wasn't gonna pay the bills, so he bought several distortion pedals and chained them together (or something like that), dusted off the ol' drum machine and started yelling his lyrics in a really pissed-off shouty manner (also distorted). So this isn't very subtle music -- most of the songs pound along at the same midtempo boom-thwack rhythms and one or two guitar chords -- but it's strangely compelling anyway. The opener "Stigmata" accomplishes quite a bit in the bitter angriness department, though don't ask me what the hell it's about (about the only clear line in the whole song is when Al goes "I'm chewing on GLASS!", and I'd probably need a theologist to help me connect this to the titular concept). I dunno, don't expect a whole lot of deep insights, really -- it's bonehead fist-pumping music for people who hate cock-rock, I guess. On the whole side one is (again) the superior, though the title track starting off side two is rather creepy. Oh, and there's a bass-driven instrumental (well, it's got some vocal samples in it, but for the most part...) called "Golden Dawn" that's pretty nice. Oh hell, I give up, I'll just use the cop-out rating again.


Psalm 69 - 1992

Rating: ***1/2
Best songs: N.W.O., Jesus Built My Hotrod, Just One Fix, TV II
Worst songs: Psalm 69, Corrosion, Grace

 

What is there to say? I mean, the first song goes DADADADADADADADADADDDDDDDDD! DUNDUNDUNDUNDUNDUNDUNDUNDUNDUNDUNDUNDUNDUNDUNDUNDUNDUN Then Al starts shouting something ("I'm in love with a malicious intent"?). And "Jesus Built My Hotrod" is the closest thing you'll find to a pop song in this crazy mixed-up universe of Ministry. But once again, the second side of the album is weaker than the first. "Psalm 69" is just over-the-top unintentional hilarity, and the last couple songs just kinda...don't do anything...or something. Otherwise this is pretty good. Unless you don't like loud, repetative music. In which case, don't worry, I'll get to your precious Billy Joel in a while.


Filthpig - 1995

Rating: *1/2
Best songs: Reload, Lava
Worst songs: most of the rest

 

Man, this one really sucks. It's like the last one, except that it's really, really boring and really, really repetative. Gah. I can't take any more of this. "Reload" is the only thing on here with any energy, "Lava" at least has a nice rumbling bass riff, and the cover of "Lay Lady Lay" is amusing enough. Otherwise this is a really, really bad album.


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