Though not as well received as either 2003’s Animositisomina or 2006’s Rio Grande Blood (a play on ZZ Top’s 1972 album, Rio Grande Mud), 2004’s Houses of the Molé proved that 1) Ministry could sustain without Paul Barker, and 2) there would be, in fact, new Ministry music. Good, but not great, I’m just happy I can start filling in the much-needed Ministry discography gaps.
It’s been raining Ministry here lately. First was Animositisomina (originally released on compact disc in ’03), followed by this, 2002’s Sphinctour (getting the first-ever vinyl treatment earlier this year… like three weeks ago…), and finally, another first-ever-on-vinyl-blah-blah, 2004’s Houses of the Molé. All three were necessary acquisitions, and I’m now in possession of every studio Ministry album from 1983’s With Sympathy to 2006’s Rio Grande Blood (12 albums in total). Its the simple things, really.
Ministry’s 2003 studio album, Animositisomina FINALLY gets a vinyl release courtesy of UK’s Let Them Eat Vinyl. This 14-year-old album would be the last collaboration between industrial icons Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker, also known as Hypo Luxa and Hermes Pan. This was my go-to album whilst delivering pizza to the west side of Madison, WI before I moved back to California, and I am, without a doubt, ecstatic about its first-ever vinyl release.
Available on vinyl for the first time (or so the hype sticker says), Ministry’s disappointing, yet essential 1999 industrial-metal album, Dark Side of the Spoon recently received (2015) the Music on Vinyl treatment… which mainly means it 1) was pressed on 180 gram audiophile vinyl, and 2) was released on vinyl at all. Essential for rounding out one’s Ministry vinyl collection, I implore you to mosey on over to Amazon.com and pick one up. Please ignore the goofball in the album cover’s reflection. Glossy covers are this photographer’s nightmare.
Minimalist industrial (the best kind), in all its Wax Trax! Records glory (though, it did not need said label’s social nuances to successfully flourish). 1988’s three-track EP, Idiot is an adventurous (and repetitive) introduction into Paul Barker’s debut (Ministry / Blackouts) side project, Lead into Gold. Only releasing one LP (1990’s Age of Reason), Lead into Gold was a short-lived, heavily weighted shadow, worthy of your next vacation from the scowling reality that is 2017 “America.” I’d suggest you listen with caution, but such a warning would fall upon deaf and ignorant ears.
Before Jesus Built My Hotrod, before the Revolting Cocks were even a drunken mistake of an idea, before Thieves, Stigmata, and Dark Side of the Spoon, there was Special Affect. This 1980 one-off by Ministry’s Al Jourgensen (guitar) and My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult’s Frank Nardiello aka Groovie Mann (vocals) is up-beat dark wave music for the curious at heart, and you wolves among the sheepish weeds. Brush up on the lyrics to the left then enjoy a rare video of the album’s title track, Too Much Soft Living.
When it comes to groundbreaking albums, no format is considered too outlandish to the avid collector. Take for example, Ministry’s 1990 live album, In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up (Live). I own it on compact disc, twice on vinyl (US pressings), and cassette (featured here, obviously). This is one of the few dubbed tapes I had kicking around the truck back in high school (I believe Operation Ivy’s Energy was the b-side), so when I ran across this genuine, slightly grubby tape at a thrift store a few years back, I couldn’t help but part with my hard earned $2.
In 1987, industrial-metal pioneers, the illustrious Ministry, teamed up with straight-edge mogul, Ian MacKaye (of Minor Threat and Fugazi), for an ambitious, yet magnificently executed collection of hardcore punk-industrial hybrids. Calling themselves Pailhead, the short-lived supergroup released six tracks over three releases and a comp. Featured here is their first record, well, the 12″ version of it, titled I Will Refuse. It’s not surprising that the record received both a 12″ and 7″ release, catering towards both the industrial (12″) and punk crowds (7″) respectively. Swap out MacKaye for Jello Biafra, add a few years (1989), and you’ve got LARD, another, more long-lasting venture into the punk-industrial genre that these Pailhead fools almost single-handedly established. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty damn close. Check ’em out.
Thinking of remodeling your lackluster bedroom? Why not try some punk-infused industrial goodness, aka LARD?! Math lesson: 101. Q: Dead Kennedys + Ministry = ??? A: LARD! I can throw a stone, hell, SEVERAL stones, MULTIPLE times, at everyone I know, and I won’t find ANYONE who’s into this band. Sounds like I need a new group of friends, does it not? Truth and honesty shoved down your throat with not so much as a chaser… let the LARD begin…
It’s a love affair. Mainly Jesus, and my hotrod. So end the lethargic rants of Butthole Surfers’ frontman Gibby Haynes on this massive, mechanical incision on early 90s pop radio, 1991’s Jesus Built My Hotrod by Industrial deities, Ministry. The single includes a kickass remix on side A, dubbed the Redline/Whiteline Version which far outweighs the original. JBMH is classic Ministry and wasn’t featured on a proper studio album until 1992’s ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ, or Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs. Not for the faint of heart, or for respectable people in general, JBMH encapsulates a bygone era of soul-crushing melodies Ministry hasn’t been able to match in over two decades. A classic to say the least.
So reads the warrior of accountabilities pin on the lapel of the heavily saturated, liver-wigged, bloodstained, and anti-patriot of yesterday’s future on the cover of Ministry’s 1996 album, Filth Pig. Scumbags reunite and cast your hollow vote for this season’s cosmetic romance, and paint those faces of joyful optimism and mirroring nationalism with the juice stains of filtered truth and industrial bruising.
I am in no way ashamed to admit that I went through a Ministry phase. I’m also not apologetic to concede that said phase lasted the good part of 14 years. I’ve witnessed their bone-crushing live act more than a few times, and was even fortunate enough to walk away from one show with a (purchased) autograph, and a “game used” drumstick. Ministry was, at one time, my favorite rage band. Now, she serves as a nostalgic milestone, whose chapter I’ll reread from time to angry time.
Burning Inside, the band’s 1989 single off their ass-kicking masterpiece, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, features 12″ remixes to both the title track, as well as fan-favorite Thieves, and offers a live cover of Skinny Puppy’s Smothered Hope. For a cool $6.99 from (what I remember to be) Second Spin back in Madison, WI, this copy of Burning Inside joined its industrial brothers and sisters in my then blossoming collection.
A classic track by a classic band in the throes of their heyday, Burning Inside is essential Monday afternoon listening material, and as with all Ministry records featured here, comes highly recommended.
The Mind is A Terrible Thing to Taste… it’s not like chilled monkey brain, toast, or a pear. What you’re looking at are Brazilian and US pressings of Ministry’s 1989 masterpiece. Exactly half the contents of 1990’s live effort, In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up (Live), Mind is home to some of Ministry’s most prolific efforts: Breathe, Burning Inside, So What, and the resounding, Thieves. Food for thought… give Ministry a shot.
1988 was a good year for Ministry, and the quote, unquote, twelve-inch, maxi-single (of only two songs), Stigmata, highlighted the aggressive enthusiasm of its umbrella, The Land of Rape and Honey, and still serves as one of the best Ministry songs to date, some 26 years later. Yeah, that’s right… Stigmata is 26 years old, and Al Jourgensen, believe it or not, is still alive. Image that shit.
Anyway, a classic, with any given redefinition.
As far as Lard is concerned, it really doesn’t get much better than 1989’s The Power of Lard. “Pity the poor trainer, in the stable when the racehorse farts,” “It’s ok to run out of butter in Zambia, just smear squashed caterpillars on your toast,” and “Poison Oak really is the aphrodisiac of the Gods” are just the red hot tip of the frozen iceberg found within the band’s debut track.
Fast forward to 2000 with the release of the band’s 2nd EP (three tracks). Their fourth and final release, 70’s Rock Must Die unfortunately features more tongue than cheek, and is by far the band’s ill-fated gift. For you see, there really is no bad Lard album, track, phrase, loop, what-have-you, there’s just spitfire Industrial brilliance, and their other stuff.
A few days ago we had an earthquake here in Southern California. Initially it was monitored as a 4.7, and then was downgraded to a 4.4. How a conscious-inducing seismic anomaly can be reduced in mere hours is beyond my pre-K comprehension. Anyway, my girlfriend and I have, what I believe to be, a rational and logical understanding about what to do when the planet has a seizure. She finds the closest doorway, and I rush to the record wall to keep it from falling. Makes perfect sense to me, although death by records is not necessarily something my GF is keen to. After our 4.7 (or 4.4, depending on what wizardry of scientific evaluation you trust) we regained composure, picked up a few things that the Earth apparently wanted on the floor, and we went along about our day.
Among the debris of gravitational plunging, was a drumstick I luckily acquired from a Ministry concert during their 2003 Fornicatour (that’s what it was called). It had been resting above the doorframe to the office, opposite the drumstick from a Har Mar Superstar show I’d seized sometime in 2007 (my only two concert acquisitions). Since this was the first quake I had witnessed to knock anything over, the image of that beat-up baton lying helpless on the floor stuck with me. So now, I drop it here, like it has been dropped before, first from the stage to my outstretched arm, then to the floor from that early morning tremor. Beware of tumbling matter, kids, for when drumsticks fall from the sky, anything is seemingly possible.