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ministry amerikkkant
Artist: Ministry
Title: AmeriKKKant
Genre: Industrial Metal
Release Date: 9th March 2018
Label: Nuclear Blast Records


Album Review

They say, every time a Bush is in the Oval Office, Industrial Metal pioneers MINISTRY released their best material. The two controversial Republican presidents, father and son, apparently inspired the most biting, bitchy and ground-breaking albums of Al Jourgensen and his partners in crime.

Already the Reagan era saw the transformation of MINISTRY from a 1980s Synth Pop combo to hard-hitting, electronic Proto-EBM act to the founding fathers of Industrial Metal, see their 1989 album ‘The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste’. Then Bush Sen. was elected, and three years into his presidency MINISTRY released a true milestone of the genre they themselves helped to shape: ‘Psalm 69’ is still a landmark of Industrial Metal and spawned crossover hits such as ‘N.W.O.’, ‘Jesus Built My Hotrod’ and ‘Just One Fix’. Things have never been the same again in Rock and Industrial since MINISTRY married both styles so effectively on ‘Psalm 69’. In the Clinton years, MINISTRY released some moderate albums and managed to alienate parts of their fan base with ‘Filth Pig’, released in 1995 and marking a departure from the electronics to dig deeper in Metal and Sludge and less in the sample-heavy Industrial sound.

When Bush junior managed to get into the Oval Office under dubious circumstances in 2001, MINISTRY found inspiration again to release the return-to-form albums ‘Animositisomina’ (2003) and in particular ‘Houses of the Mole’, released in 2004, followed two years later by another anti-Bush album titled ‘Rio Grande Blood’. Mastermind Al Jourgensen was angry again, very angry. George W. Bush was seen as one of the most controversial and even scorned presidents in US history, in particular his “war on terror” and the invasion of Iraq under false claims of Iraqi officials collaborating with al-Qaeda and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein allegedly hoarding weapons of mass destruction - an economic recession under Bush Jun., his “cowboy image” and his often awkward behaviour and frequent verbal slip-ups didn’t help much to better his reputation, and in fact many saw him to be unfit to be president. George W. Bush left office with a dismal 22 percent approval rating, so unpopular that he wasn’t even invited to his own party’s convention in 2008. Meanwhile MINISTRY released the third and final part of their anti-George W. Bush trilogy in 2007, ‘The Last Sucker’.

But oh boy, how much better looks George W. Bush in retrospect when you look at the recent toddler-in-chief, President Donald J. Trump! Bush Jun. might have deficits and simplistic views but Trump on the other hand is the god of total ignorance and a text book example for narcissistic personality disorder. Even though The Donald, as the heir of a billionaire, had access to the best education available in the US, he more often than not lacks even the most basic knowledge on many subjects. Well, seemingly all subjects! And on top of all this he’s obviously antisocial, racist, a documented sexual predator, and one wonders when his moral compass fell to bits, or if it ever existed, at all. But all this is, in all likelihood, no news for you. Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the last two years or if you happen to be one of the remaining American Trump supporters who still fall for Trump’s paeans of self-praise. But why would you read this review then? Isn’t this text a little too long for you, anyway? And did you google “paeans” already?

Back to the album, which is the first studio album since the band’s 2013 release ‘From Beer to Eternity’ and the first album on cult label Nuclear Blast Records. When Bush inspired MINISTRY to do a series of albums which hit you like a machine gun, then a president like Trump should inspire them to record at least a double album full of fervent Industrial Metal attacks on your ears with political lyrics, following the “faster, harder” scheme. Right? Somewhat surprisingly, it is just a single album with nine tracks and, more importantly, largely rather a dark psychedelic trip than the grinding high-speed riffs which made MINISTRY popular both in Metal and Industrial clubs. However, MINISTRY at half pace is still more hard-hitting and menacing than most bands at full tilt. While the majority of ‘The Last Sucker’, for example, felt like a smack in the face, most songs on ‘AmeriKKKant’ are rather choking you slowly with barbed wire. Musically speaking, mind you!

The album starts with the intro ‘I Know Words’ and Trump’s notorious slogan “Make America great again”, filtered and distorted and soon attended by strings and a clinking piano. A nice build-up that goes directly into ‘Twilight Zone’, an 8-minute mid-tempo monster which wouldn’t feel out of place on the experimental ‘Dark Side Of The Spoon’. Jourgensen’s lyrics are scarce, the track rather relies heavily on speech samples and this is true for most of the album. It’s a bit ironic that someone who lacks linguistic abilities as much as Trump is featured so prominently here, isn’t it? ‘Victims Of A Clown’, another song that outruns the 8-minute mark, speeds things up a little before we come to 49-second sound collage called ‘TV 5-4 Chan’, leading into ‘We’re Tired of It’ which is eventually the classic angry, high-speed MINISTRY many fans crave for.

But with ‘Wargasm’ we’re back to doomy, sample-heavy mid-tempo Industrial Metal, followed by the lead single ‘Antifa’ which some may know from its incredibly awful video full of platitudes and amateur riot footage. The song is a welcome shot of adrenaline but actually one of the weaker tracks on the album, a bit generic and MINISTRY by numbers. The pacing of the album, which is finished with ‘Game Over’ (haha!) and another 8-minute steamroller called ‘AmeriKKKa’, is a bit odd at times, and in general it doesn’t feel as enraged and furious as you might expect MINISTRY to be in the age of the orange dunderhead ruling in the White House. Despite the omnipresence of SCROTUS on ‘AmeriKKKant’, it is not even an anti-Trump album in the strict sense, as al Jourgensen likes to point out: “I’ve spoken my piece on the societal conditions that would elect such a blithering idiot. It’s not an anti-Trump album, it’s like a - ‘did you pay attention in school? Does anybody have any intellectual curiosity anymore?’ - album. [It’s] basically just holding up a mirror to ourselves and saying: ‘Look at this, is this what you really want to be?’”

At the end of the day, ‘AmeriKKKant’ doesn’t have the same raucous, knuckle-cracking anger the “Bush trilogy” had but perhaps that would have been a bit too obvious. ‘AmeriKKKant’ is for the most part a reflective, dark, psychedelic trip. The aggressiveness is still there, but it’s more like an irate look into the mirror of today’s society which made something like President Trump possible, in the first place. Ten years after the big farewell of MINISTRY, and a couple of albums later, ‘AmeriKKKant’ proves that the band is still going strong.


Tracklist

01. I Know Words - 3:14
02. Twilight Zone - 8:03
03. Victims Of A Clown - 8:18
04. TV 5-4 Chan - 0:49
05. We’re Tired of It - 2:48
06. Wargasm - 6:19
07. Antifa - 4:56
08. Game Over - 5:01
09. AmeriKKKa - 8:30


Line-up

Al Jourgensen
John Bechdel
Sin Quirin
Cesar Soto
Tony Campos
DJ Swamp
Burton C. Bell
Joey Jordison


Website

http://ministryband.com / https://www.facebook.com/WeAreMinistry


Cover Picture

ministry amerikkkant


Rating

Music: 8
Sound: 9
Total: 8.5 / 10




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