Chicago Blackhawks fan, one of the forefathers of the Industrial scene, and a staunch Republican, Al Jourgensen has closed the books on Ministry. the announcement came shortly after the passing of longtime guitarist, Mike Scaccia, in December 2012. altho there will be no more new material released, Al will take the band out on tour again, beginning in Australia at the Soundwave Festival in February. what better time than the present to rank, rate, and review all of their studio albums, while pondering whether it’s worth the $60 asking price for tickets to the show.
13. RELAPSE (2012) – if there’s one thing Eminem has taught us, it’s that albums titled RELAPSE are usually terrible. Ministry’s effort in this category is no different. the lead track “Ghouldiggers” has promise, but gets weighed down midsong by audio of Al getting the run-around from a record company executive. even the obligatory cover song (SOD’s “United Forces”), which has usually been pretty good on previous albums, is lacking. the closer, “Bloodlust”, is the best track, if only b/c I like the CSNY harmonies in the chorus.
12. TWITCH (1986) – this was the transitional album that showcased a darker side of the band and served as a prelude of what was to come, while still maintaining the “pop sensibilities” of it’s predecessor. choice track: We Believe
11. DARK SIDE OF THE SPOON (1999) – the cover alone is enough to make you hesitant about giving this a listen. “Bad Blood” is the most Ministry-sounding track of the lot, and was featured on THE MATRIX soundtrack. other than the lead track, “Supermanic Soul” it’s pretty much hit or (mostly) miss.
10. FROM BEER TO ETERNITY (2013) – did Al really say that this was the best Ministry album? it’s ok, but with no Bush in office, Al resorts to singing about Fox News and whatever else happened to be pissing him off at the moment, like folks not voting.
09. THE LAST SUCKER (2007) – there’s only so many songs you can write about how much George W. Bush sucks, before it becomes old hat. the trilogy closer is a chore to get thru. yes, we get it, Bush is descended from reptilian shape-shifters, Cheney is the anti-Christ, and Alex Jones still has this album in his heavy rotation.
08. WITH SYMPATHY (1983) – perhaps if this had been released by Pet Shop Boys or Depeche Mode, it might’ve received better praise, but we all know of Al’s legendary hatred for this album. I found a brand spanking new copy at Amoeba Records back when I lived in LA. it’s remastered with bonus tracks, and sounds FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC!!! I may be the only person on the planet with a “Work For Love” ringtone.
07. THE LAND OF RAPE AND HONEY (1988) – remember when I boldly proclaimed this was one of the best Ministry albums? yeah, this hasn’t really held up all that well over the years. the lead track, “Stigmata” and the title track are great, but everything else is fairly simple and somewhat repetitive.
06. RIO GRANDE BLOOD (2006) – act II of the anti-Bush trilogy. the first half of the album is better than the latter. you get guest appearances by Sgt. Major (Gangreen), Jello Biafra (Ass Clown), and Liz Constantine (Khyber Pass) the best song on the album is the Dethklok-esque “Fear (Is Big Business)”
05. FILTH PIG (1996) – my favourite Ministry album cover, as the orange hue around the guy’s head, reminds me of Conan O’Brien (is that strange?) their Bob Dylan cover (Lay Lady Lay) is top notch, as is the title track. sometimes I just like to crank “Useless” up to 11, and let the bassline crash over me.
04. ANIMOSITISOMINA (2003) – this might be the most underrated Ministry album. there wasn’t too much in the way of filler. “The Light Pours Out of Me” is my favourite Ministry cover song. “Broken” is my favourite track on the album, as you can hear the Al Jourgensen vocals of the WITH SYMPATHY era, we all know and love.
03. PSALM 69 (1992) – the height of Ministry’s popularity, which lead to a string of videos on MTV, their only platinum album to date, and a headlining gig on Lollapallooza. “NWO” and “Just One Fix” were the calling cards, but it’s deeper cuts like “Jesus Built My Hotrod” (featuring Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers) and “Scarecrow” that are the real standouts.
02. HOUSES OF THE MOLE (2004) – the most metal album in the discography, it was the first (and best) in the anti-Bush trilogy. successfully blending elements of thrash (Warp City) and black metal (WTV) with Ministry’s trademark industrial sound. my personal favourite is “World” which sounds like a modern day update to Genesis “Land of Confusion”
01. THE MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO TASTE (1989) – from beginning to end, a thoroughly enjoyable listen. MIND runs the gamut from industrial (Thieves) to ambient (Dream Song) to rap/rock (Test) the one complaint I hear is that the album is diluted due to Al working with so many guest collaborators (Ogre and Chris Connelly, among others) but I find this to be a strength. the spooky ambiance of the droning horns, the crow calls, the menacing bassline, and Connelly’s wailing vocals, “The Cannibal Song” will make you feel as tho you’ve stumbled into the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.