Ministry

Houses of the Mole (Sanctuary)

If it's an election year, then it must be time for the new Ministry album. Word on the street is goateed psychotic Al Jourgensen is up for his two-year chip at the downtown El Paso NA meeting, and he's ready to reinvent his particular church of the subgenius. Even estranged guitarist Mike Scaccia is back (remember Dallas metal band Rigor Mortis?), also sober, forgivin' and forgettin' an ugly episode in South Texas involving dope, guns and jail cells. Now a healthy and fit Scaccia appears to be Jourgensen's primary collaborator and right-hand man. Smiley faces all around, and somewhere a drug cartel is probably out of business.

That said, this album is oddly patriotic and succinct; it would have made the perfect soundtrack to Fahrenheit 9/11. The first song clocks in at roughly 85 mph and mixes a cool sample of what sounds like a Roman orchestral chorus in creepy juxtaposition with the jingo/spastic mishmash of George W. Bush soundbites. The second song sounds like the wheels-off Ministry/Butthole Surfers drivin' tune "Jesus Built My Hot Rod," as Scaccia rains down blistering sheets of harmonic distortion over a staccato metaltary beat. Track four channels the Birthday Party or Killing Joke for one of those sleazy, subhuman bass guitar figures, then locks into a sinister groove that provides a perfect soundscape for Al-Jourgen-zeera's crude goatlike bleating. Seconds later Dubya checks back in (out of context, through an octave divider or frequency pitch generator) with "a message for the people of Iraq...go home and die." Getting the picture? The rest of the album barrels down the same sociopolitical path, with an economy of distraction and a healthy celebration of noise and/or disgust. Amen, brother.

 
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