Overall Score: 8/10 Keeping Industrial Alive: 8/10 Massive Drums: 9/10 Cover Artwork: 8/10 Pros: It’s a bit politics overkill. Can we not do songs about snorting coke and crashing cars anymore? Cons: It’s a bit politics overkill. Can we not do songs about snorting coke and crashing cars anymore?
Fifteen albums in for Ministry, and Uncle Al is still pissed off. Moral Hygiene is another reaction to the comings and goings of the world and, in particular, the good ol’ USA.
Al Jourgensen doesn’t beat around the bush, does he? ‘Good Trouble’ includes him repeatedly commentating “The world is a mess” in his hoarse, nicotine-stained roar. The album runs with this theme and what you get is a whole blended-up freak-shake of insurrection, Trump, police brutality, misinformation and a few doses of Covid to top it all off.
Moral Hygiene is a whirlwind of samples, dirty riffs and a rhythm section that will bust your car windows. Al barks his thoughts at you with particular venom on the razor-sharp ‘Disinformation’ but is just as effective when he’s a little more mid-paced such as the groovy ‘Search and Destroy’. Billy Morrison also adds a little flourish to the latter track as a guest six-stringer.
Speaking of guests…
Jello Biafra appears on the awesome ‘Sabotage is Sex’ where Ministry manage to sound a bit like White Zombie. Which is a bit weird, because White Zombie basically borrowed Ministry’s sound in about 1992; you end up with Ministry, but borrowed and recycled and after a few Chinese whispers. In a good way, mind you!
Okay, we have a political record on our hands here. That’s not going to be a surprise to many. Previous Ministry outing ‘AmeriKKKant’ was basically a concept album born from a reaction to the election of Donald Trump. Al Jourgensen makes no apologies for telling you exactly what he thinks and he doesn’t care if you agree or not.
Let’s just step back from the social commentary for a second and see what’s going on in the background; because the soundtrack to this album is absolutely thumping. Roy Mayorga has joined the ranks and his presence is felt on the drums here and will no doubt be formidable in the live arena. There are a few clean guitars running through here and there which distract from the onslaught of distortion and samples. Most notably, the simplistic riff (accompanied by harmonica) in single ‘Good Trouble’ is far from Industrial.
Oh, Industrial… is what Ministry do these days Industrial? Those halcyon days of ‘The Land of Rape and Honey’ and Nine Inch Nails et al are long gone. One of Al or Trent must have lost that fuzzy synth that sounded like you were playing your Mum’s pots and pans for drums, but the grime, stomp and buzz of Industrial music still lives on in Ministry’s music. Ministry is industrial, therefore what Ministry do is Industrial. Or something like that.
All in all, it’s a splendid record. Maybe a little predictable in subject matter and delivery, but when you make it to album number fifteen, do we need anything too different? No, no we don’t.
Moral Hygiene is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.