Has there ever been a better time to draw up material for a new Ministry album? This hasn’t been lost on Al Jourgensen, who packs the latest Ministry release, AmeriKKKant (Nuclear Blast) with as many ridiculous Donald Trump samples as he can find.
We know that the best Ministry material is birthed during times of American political unrest and when Uncle Al has a rant or two to get off his chest. The window of transition between Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton was the era when Ministry’s fury was at its most fertile. In six years alone, we got certifiable classics such as The Land of Rape and Honey, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste and Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs. Drug abuse and general mayhem cooled Jourgensen’s creative output, only to see him return to brutal form with Houses of the Molé and Rio Grande Blood. It just so happens that this comeback occurred when George W. Bush was attempting to run the country.
Now with president Ass-Clown in office (pardon, I mean Trump), the stage has been set for comedians looking to lampoon or musicians to use the madness as creative ammunition. On initial listen, what stands out is that AmeriKKKant isn’t as musically aggressive as I was expecting. There are several moments of blitzing speed and jagged guitars like in the thrashing ‘We’re Tired of It’ or the dizzying collage of sounds that is ‘TV 5-4 Chan,’ but the focus is elsewhere this time around.
What we have, primarily, are songs that stick to mid-tempos and indulge in Vangelis inspired synths, DJ scratching, discomforting samples and throbbing bass lines. On songs like ‘Twilight Zone’ with its sparse beats, tension racking guitar riffs and harmonica outbursts, Jourgensen conveys anger as well as disappointment. ‘Victims of a Clown’ attempts to shake off the weariness with drumming that almost make it danceable, but the frustration with the current American landscape still boils over. While not as speedy as other Ministry tunes, ‘Wargasm’ still conveys the heavy with pounding drums and a sneaky riff keeps things sinister.
It’s easy to feel discomfort with an administration that seems too stupid or absurd to even parody, but that’s not going to deter Jourgensen.
Seems like Ministry is going to be busy for a while.