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Ministry – HOUSES OF THE MOLE (Sanctuary)

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Ministry
HOUSES OF THE MOLE
Sanctuary Records

Recently, I had the distinct privilege to go 1-on-1 politically with Ministry leader Al Jourgensen. It was a very spirited debate; one in which the only point that we agreed on is that everyone over the age of 18 needs to vote because voting is important. Aside from that, Jourgensen has a very different perception of the world and what he would like the new world order to consist of. But while we don’t agree politically, there is no denying that Jourgensen and company have come back with the best album they’ve done since their crown jewel, PSALM 69. Even in Jourgensen’s own words, he only writes good music when he’s writing during Republican reign of Washington. Agreed.

HOUSES OF THE MOLE is a seething, yet melodic metal album that is so purely reminiscent of the great PSALM 69 album that you can’t help but draw the conclusion that he listened to it, updated it and charged it up with his own spirited views of today’s governmental situation. Unlike albums like FILTH PIG or ANIMOSITISOMINA which were hard to understand and even harder to get into, HOUSES OF THE MOLE just rockets forward and never stops. Even more interesting, at least to me, is the way he’s melded sound clips and heavily altered vocals into the mix of each song. Again, it’s very much like PSALM 69 in that regard.

As far as the message goes, Jourgensen pulls no punches with the Bush Administration of Mr. Bush specifically. He spews throughout songs like “Worthless”, spitting out rants like “Kill yourself / that’s what you wanted / pity yourself / you’re a righteous man / destroy yourself. I always wonder when an attack is this pointed if the other party, who’s well surrounded by “yes” men like GW, ever actually see or hear any of it. If so, Mr. Jourgensen is staring an ugly audit right in the face. In any event, George W. Bush stays targetted in Ministry’s scope throughout songs like “Wrong”, “No W” and the pleading “World”, which comes off like a desperate cry to all the democrats to bond together and vote Mr. Bush out of office. It’s a strong message, to say the least.

Musically, HOUSES OF THE MOLE is surprisingly the strongest effort the band has had in years. It’s surprising because on of the two driving forces in the band, Paul Barker, left prior to it’s recording. Still, the assembled band does a great job. Jourgensen teams on guitar with Mike Scaccia on many songs, as well as playing bass and programming. These two team nicely throughout the record, and keep it driving forward throughout.

PITRIFF RATING – 9/10 – Being honest, I find Jourgensen’s message to be off base and dangerous if accepted by the American people. That’s just my personal view though. Ultimately, he’s got his opinion, I’ve got mine, and neither of us are wrong in believing what we believe. And while I wish I could sit around and talk Jourgensen into seeing things the “right” way, I can’t deny that this is by far the best work he and Ministry have done in a very long time – maybe ever. Killer listening that makes you think. Ultimately, regardless of your politics, I think that was the goal.

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About richwithhatred

  • http://www.thebeautifullull.com Tom Johnson

    I agree 100% – Jourgensen’s political message and stance put me off, but the music on the album is so vital that I can’t dislike it, even if it does rip some of the great riffs and sounds of older Ministry. Sometimes even self-imitation is the best.

  • Eric Olsen

    give ‘em hell Chris, I talked with Al and interviewed Paul about ten years ago – crazy stuff. Glad to hear the new one is return to best form – I had almost given up. Thanks and welcome!

  • dot23

    AJ’s political motives have often been obscure to me, and having only heard a few new tracks on i-radio I can only add this: any band that makes one think, debate and question the powers that be has to be a good thing, regardless of ‘rightness’ and ‘wrongness’. At least it’s not the mindless drivvel that passes as ‘punk’ these days (you know who they/you are).

    Plus the new songs rock ;)