Ministry Rio Grande Blood
By Dan Century
In 1988 Ministry released The Land of
Rape and Honey and won the attention of hardcore and metal fans by mixing
heavy guitar riffs with drum machines, distorted vocals and samples from cult
movies. Ministry wasnt the first band to mix drum machines with metal
both the Young Gods and Big Black did it the year before but
The Land of Rape and Honey crossed over and changed everything forever.
Metal heads started dating Goth chicks. Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM and White Zombie
changed their sound. A new industrial metal genre was spawned and
bands like Chemlab, Die Krupps, Fear Factory, Godflesh, Klute and Sister
Machine Gun came out of nowhere and quickly filled record bins. Big-hair metal
dudes like Metallicas Kirk Hammet praised Ministry in the press. People
say Nirvanas Nevermind killed big-hair metal maybe so, but
Ministry kicked it the down the stairs and broke its hip.
Theres always been one big problem with Ministry for
metal heads: as brutal as Ministry is, their guitar riffs and solos were never
the most metal. Ministrys riffs have never been quite as metallic as
Slayer, or Overkill, Megadeth, Pantera and classic Metallica. This point was
made abundantly clear when KMFDM sampled Slayers Reign in Blood
for their hit Godlike. When that song came out everybody was like
its like Ministry with a better riff. Al Jourgensen is no
slacker, but hes also no Kerry King.
Another complaint, which comes mostly from dudes in
bands and metal purists, is that Ministry has no soul or feeling in their
music. They claim that Al Jourgensen records a bunch of riffs, loops them in
Pro Tools and hes done. Most Ministry fanatics could care less how Al
makes his music: to them sonic brutality is sonic brutality, no matter how it
Rio Grande Blood changes everything for Ministry. The
first smart thing Al Jourgensen did was recruit Tommy Victor, Paul Raven and
John Bechdel from Prong, a classic NYC thrash band, and keep Mike Scaccia, who
is Ministrys greatest musical asset. The second smart thing Al did was he
made a thrash album: thrash riffs, thrash squeals, thrash solos, thrash bass,
and thrash beats no disco with metal riffs, just real thrash metal
goodness. The third smart thing Al did was keep all the stuff that made
Ministry famous: wacko drum machines, keyboards, distorted vocals, samples and
of course anger and rage. He doesnt play on the album, but Al has gone as
far as steal Slipknots drummer, Joey Jordison, for the upcoming Ministry
tour. Brilliant! Al Jourgensen has finally completed the transformation he
began 18 years ago Ministry is now a full-blown metal band.
As you might guess by the title and artwork, Rio Grande
Blood is a concept album about the Bush administration, the War on Terror
and the Iraq War. Do you want to guess whose side Al Jourgensen is on?
Heres a hint: Al wont be invited to a White House dinner any time
soon. Titles like Yellow Cake, Kyber Pass, Palestina, and The Great
Satan are references to Iraq and the War on Terror. Ass Clown is
about Washington politics, and has a funny sideshow barker intro by Jello
Biafra. I think Senor Peligro is about illegal immigration, but I
cant tell what Al is singing. I can never tell what Al is signing
how about a lyrics sheet Al?
Of course, if you think Dubya is totally awesome, no one can
understand Als vocals anyway so you can still enjoy the album without
being offended. Im pretty sure the song Gangreen is pro-troops. I
cant say, again because I cant quite understand the lyrics.
Rio Grande Blood is easily the best Ministry record
since Psalm 69 and the most consistent Ministry record since A
Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste! Thanks to some new members, its
also the most metal Ministry record ever as well. Ultimately, its an
excellent record to put in your car stereo and drive at extreme speeds wasting
egregious amounts of gasoline gasoline that comes from that sticky-sweet
Rio Grande Blood oil.
Click to Buy!