Well, this album is as I remember it. Mostly. What I remember is that this is a very difficult listen. It’s relentless with exactly two gears. You’ve got the non-stop assault of seven of the nine tracks which are made up of distorted guitar at ear-piercing frequencies, sampled instruments as well as dialogue samples used both for effect and for the vocal parts, and lots of shouting. The second gear is a slower, spookier mood and used exclusively on and as the exclusive mood of “Cannibal Song” and “Dream Song.”
But there’s a lot I discovered here for the first time. The most pleasant and most surprising surprise was “Test,” which I think I probably wrote off as the rap song in high school but is now my favorite song on here. The Public Enemy-style rap is throughout, and ends up being a bit of a third gear on the album as the song where non-shouting or dialogue-spoken vocals are given an emphasis.
Another big surprise was that, amid the relentless assault of quantized guitars and samples, there is some relenting. There are verses, choruses, bridges, guitar solos…there is structure beyond a four- to eight-bar repetition that gives your mind some reprieve. And the sophistication of the soundscape is amazing. It’s amazing that this came out in the 80’s. I knew Ministry was a band that was forging their own path, but it’s amazing just how out in front of everybody they were.
I don’t find this quite as enjoyable as its predecessor, but in most ways it’s obviously better. It’s a hard one to get into, requiring a very specific mood where you have to be ready to meet it head on. When you’re there, though, it’s a very impressive piece of craftsmanship.
Mix: “Thieves,” “Burning Inside,” “Test”
– “Never Believe,” “Dream Song”
– “Cannibal Song,” “Breathe,” “So What,” “Faith Collapsing”
Filed Between: Ministry’s The Land Of Rape And Honey and Psalm 69
Song Notes: After the jump
- Thieves – The rhythm here that isn’t the chant is pretty sweet. That’s what makes it good. Plus a sample of a dot matrix printer = so awesome.
- Burning Inside –
- Never Believe –
- Cannibal Song – This is a tough one to categorize because the way they use sound effects in this is expert, so so good. But the song gets a little draggy. So it’s awesome from a standpoint of being expertly crafted sound. But as something I really get into, not so much. Kind of the album in a nutshell.
- Breathe – opening is annoying. “Breathe, you f**cker”
- So What – probably full. nah, it has some really great parts. but at 8:15, just spends too much time passing time.
- Test – This rap is not awful.
- Faith Collapsing – almost broken, as the bass line is way too repetitive and the chorus, as it were, is the worst on the album. But they keep it to four minutes and it fits well with the rest of the disc.
- Dream Song – very cool.