Sunday, October 30, 2011

Yes, it's THE Ministry

For those of you who haven't heard this little bit of trivia, Ministry started out as a virulently catchy gothic synthpop band. And as far as I'm concerned, Al looked way cooler with spiked hair and makeup than he does as a cyber cowboy. His pouting and prancing is what being a frontman is all about. I do dig the noisy industrial/hardcore they did in the late 80s, but it was all downhill after that. This fey, mannered early stuff is so obviously better than their tone-deaf "metal" output in the 90s that it boggles the mind. A nice reminder that "heavier" is not inherently more worthwhile.


  1. This song and "Effigy" are the best cuts from "With Sympathy." The second side of the album is pretty weak, to be honest. Personally, I could never really get in to MINISTRY's work, even albums like "The Land of Rape and Honey," which many hold as a classic. I do really love "Twitch" and the "Twitch live" albums. I would really recommend them if you enjoy this earlier material. Its the best thing Al ever did as far as songwriting and textured musically construction. Very cold, distant, and eerie. The later metal based songs just lack those elements, at least to my ears.

    But lets be frank. If you REALLY want gorgeous industrial music, I only have two words for you: SKINNY PUPPY. My life has been defined by them (and SWANS) for the past fifteen years more than anything else.

  2. @ido: To be honest you probably know Ministry better than me... I agree that they're hit or miss, but when they hit they hit hard. so i will definitely check out "Twitch." i've been listening to a bonus version or something of "with sympathy" that has "Everyday Is Halloween," and that track fucking rules.

    Recommend a good Skinny Puppy album. I've tried to get into them before but almost certainly started with the wrong songs.

    In other news I am SO STOKED because I (think) we've just figured out a lineup for our goth band. Can't wait to get some demo shit recorded and share it with you.

  3. "Everyday is Halloween" was a 12" single released in the early 80s, after "With Sympathy" but before 1985s "Twitch." Here's the version from the "Twitch Live" album I have:

    Pretty good, right? Its funny, because these days Al gets all sensitive and angry when people bring up his early work. But the "metal Ministry" albums, especially the later stuff, doesn't really work well as metal, either. Well, not good metal anyway. (as an aside, I've been listening to BEHERIT non-stop lately in preparation for Halloween.)

    Go to my blog and download SKINNY PUPPY's live performance in Horst, Netherlands from 1986. Its a soundboard recording and absolutely pristine. It features amazing version of some of their best early songs. If that peaks your interest, then buy "Cleanse, Fold, and Manipulate" (1987), "Ain't It Dead Yet?" (1987), "VIVIsect VI" (1988), and "Too Dark Park" (1990) as soon as possible. Those albums are only the tip of the iceberg. But a good place to start. Again, no music means more to me other than SWANS (and Rozz Williams and Togawa Jun, too, if you wanna get technical). I could go on forever.

    Awesome to hear your band is coming together! Would definitely be interested in hearing anything you put together.

  4. Skinny Puppy, Swans, mid-period Ministry are all great examples of stuff that's heavy without having to try to be metal. The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste was my introduction to Ministry and will probably always be my favorite, it has heavy guitars without trying to be metal, really nailed a nice hypnotic/apocalyptic vibe, as The Land Of Rape & Honey did almost entirely with electronics but for a couple songs. Really everything before Psalm 69 is quite decent, including the Jesus Built My Hot Rod single (original versions of "Jesus" and "TV Song" miles better than the bastardized versions that ended up on the album). Basically after hearing The Mind circa '90ish, I absolutely had to track down everything they had ever done and I was struck by the variety and progression over time while staying consistently quality. Considering the date, you could have been more obvious and posted "Everyday Is Halloween." :D All the stuff on that "Twelve Inch Singles" collection is, "Cold Life" and "The Nature Of Love" were high school favorites of mine. Damn, I really got to dig out some of these old industrial discs again...