Friday, February 09, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 45: Ministry - The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste

Album - The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste
Artist - Ministry
Key Players - Alian "Al" Jourgensen - vocals/guitar, Paul Barker - bass/programming, Chris Connelly -guest vocals on tracks 3-5, William Rieflin-drums.
Produced By - Hypo Luxa, Hermes Pan otherwise known as Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker

Release Date - November 1989

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Nothing in particular had me pull this particular record out. Sometimes when I look I try to do an FDF on a less obvious choice. Remember the idea is that you forget as a whole how a record is, not that it is/was a great record but something that you liked and maybe forgot about some.

Overview - Ministry have been making some of the heaviest industrial music since the late 1980's. During that time with various side projects and a revolving door of members Ministry have made the loudest and longest lasting impact on the genre. Ministry was more a pop/dance band in the early years. Following the release of "The Land of Rape and Honey" this particular release would continue to lock the band into a driving (and grinding) band.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Opening with the sample laden "Thieves" you are quickly brought up to speed what is in store. Many of the samples taken from this track come from "Full Metal Jacket". At the end you will hear R.Lee Eremy's character (Gny. Sgt. Hartman) shout "I can't hear you...I STILL Can't hear you" It fits perfectly with the mix. Including lines like "get up..get on your feet" and "Pray". "Burning Inside" follows and after a few moments of a slow up build the drum line comes at you like a punching bag. Its what some could call "simple time' but its pretty much in your face. The guitars grind down and Jourgensen brings in his screaming vocals (with heavy effect mind you). The music is just pummelling at this point..its being ground down hard and fast. By the time the band reaches the chours you'd be exhausted if you were trying to dance along (which many do). "Never Believe" has almost a slight "Depeche Mode" poppy intro, but that is quickly aborted in favor of the grind you either love at this point or you've long shut off. This is the first of three songs on the album that Chris Connelly takes over the lead vocal duties. Although the same growl can be heard it offers a slight deviation from what Jourgensen gives. Its not a wild deviation but its somehow refreshing. "Cannibal Song" has a lot slower field and is more bass guitar lead. The vocal delivery is reminiscent of early Public Image Limited as well. "Breathe" is also a heavily sampled song and during the intro its almost as if you hear Indian Music and some drum stick clacks off the rim of the snare and then all of a sudden..look out ..the drums come hammering in. When the band toured for this record they had two drummers perform live and you get that feel RIGHT away on this. Jorgensen screaming "BREEEEEEEATHE" as the distorted guitars and pounding bass drive this one home sonically. "So What" is the longest tune on the album at just over 8 minutes. It takes some to get going but this is probably the real staple from this record. The payoff is well worth it. The song itself has a swooping bassline and some tightly picked guitar work over the top. After a bit of vocal samples Rieflin hammers down on the floor toms and the band erupts. The track is the most aggressively sung track on the record. Even though there are interludes, and musical breakdowns (not in the playing but in speed) when it comes time to sing you are brought back to full attention. "Test" is a different track for sure. It almost a "rap" tune. The music is true to the form of Ministry but the lyrics are more what the listener would call a very heave rap track. The vocals were done by "The Grand Wizard" aka K.Lite. "Faith Collapsing" starts off with a slow sampled count off and the bass holds this track down. The tribal sounding drums are accented with various samples. "Dream Song" concludes the album. This track as a cd exclusive (remember cds were not the dominate format at the time). The song is not really the best way to close out such a brutal album but some might say it adds a good subtle twist being slightly slower than the other tracks with some female "chanting" and a more "world" music feel.

Where are they now? - Ministry continue as a band to this day with Al Jourgensen as the sole constant member. Al has has a "rough" go some might say. He has/had battled heroin, cocaine and alcohol addiction and in 2001 was bitten by a venomous spider that almost resulted in the removal of his arm. Al maintains that since this bite he has been "sober" since 2003. Chris Connelly left the band around the time of this release. He continues with multiple other projects. In 2003 Paul Barker left Ministry to pursue other interests. In recent months there has been speculation that 2007 will be the last year for a Ministry release and tour. Ministry's "Lieslieslies" from 2006's Rio Grande Blood is nominated for Best Metal Performance as well.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - Ministry puts on one hell of a live show as I bore witness to, on two occasions. The first was August 7, 1992 as part of the Lollapaloosa tour. In this year the venue (know known as the Tweeter Center) played host and during Ministrys early evening set concert attendees in the lawn section tore up sheets of sod as well as tore down the back fence to make massive bonefires. The first of two nights (I was at night 1) was bad enough and rumor has is the second night was even worse. It was so bad that Lollapaloosa was not invited back to the venue until 1995. The band themselves were amazing, and amazingly loud. The second time was in a club setting. That was April 19, 1996. Again the band tore thru a blistering (and louder that hell) set. There have been a few occasions to see them since but part of me wonders if it will ever be "the same".

To experience this first hand check out the live cd that went along with this tour called "In Case you didn't feel like showing up". There was a concert VHS of this as well that carried the same title. It has yet to be released on DVD. One cool thing was on this very tour to keep stage divers off the stage the band erected a chain link fence from floor to ceiling (well in theory). The band would perform as overzealous crowd members would scale the fence to then "jump back down" in to the audience. A few years back "Wax Trax" label had a compilation released and inside was a form you could fill out, mail back and get a "piece of the fence".

FDF Overall Take - This is not for me. Those that like this, and music of its genre like it for what it is. Fast, in your face and even a tad over the top.
This was a start of huge barrage of very heavy music that was not quite dance not quite alternative. The next few releases for the band would see them grow in popularity and album sales but the novelty wore off. The band has been dropped from Warner Brothers and seen a lot of members come and go. That being said they are one of the most politically active bands (for better or worse) and they LOATHE George W. Bush so if you are a fan of his be careful they have something to tell you. This was "earlier" Minstry and political stuff is there but if you can decipher the lyrics over the pummelling music let me know. If you are looking to get some aggression out (or drive really freaking fast) toss this on and strap in.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC! ***MP3 links are now dead 2/15/07 12:20 ET***

Breathe taken from The Mind is...
Burning Inside taken from The Mind is...

Need more??? Ministry Live (yeah they can pull it off live).

The Missing/Deity
Psalm 69
Just one Fix
TV Song
So What

This set was recorded December 27, 1992 at the Universal Amp in Los Angeles CA. The band was on tour for Psalm 69 at the time. Even if this is "really not your bag" check out "Supernaut" its a cover of the Black Sabbath tune. This set is from a "liberated bootleg" called "Kill for Kicks"

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 8:11 PM, Blogger Ryan of the RSL blog said...

Thanks - looking forward to listening to this show straight through!


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