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Ministry albums ranked


Despite vowing that Ministry would never reunite after the release of the ‘The Last Sucker’, Uncle Al just couldn’t keep away and brought the gang back together for ‘Relapse’, and oh boy. With tracks ranging from passable to godawful hilarious, ‘Relapse’ is one of the most bizarre and laughably bad albums I’ve ever heard. And I mean that too, it’s goddamn horrible. The odd solid solo or cool rhythm aside, the album is crammed to the brim with stupid creative choices, awful lyrics, plus a hideous piece of cover art and just downright bad songs. There’s some passable stuff though. ‘Ghouldiggers’ starts off the album on a decent, if not over long, foot and the group’s rendition of S.O.D’s ‘United Nations’ is fine. But that’s stacked right next to stuff like the bizarre ‘Freefall’, the silly ‘Weekend Warrior’ which sounds like the worst Suicidal Tendencies song ever and ‘Git Up, Get Out n’ Vote’ which needs to be heard to be believed.

Standouts: Ghouldiggers, United Nations

Recorded in particularly unsavoury circumstances as Al and the rest of the band attempted to kick heroin, Animositisomina (try saying that three times fast) is a particularly dreary affair. Outside of opener ‘Animosity’, lead single ‘P***’ and deep cut ‘Impossible’, it’s slim pickings here and that’s not helped by the album’s sheer lack of energy or care. Weak production, weak playing and weak lyricism plague the record, and it commits the cardinal sin of being not really a bad LP, but a tremendously boring one. Al himself seemed to think so too, as he left the sessions before they were even fully over, leaving the closing track unfinished and hauling the mixing process off to whoever was left standing.

Standouts: Animosity, P***, Impossible

Al once claimed that he only made good music under Republican presidents. It does seem that way, with a majority of the band’s best received work ranging from the Reagan and Bush eras while things start getting (debatably) spotty with the Clinton and Obama years. With that mindset, AmeriKKKant seemed like a sure fire success. I mean, with Trump in the White House, it was bound to be a creative goldmine, right? Suffice to say, no. While there are a few stretches of good music, mainly in ‘Victims of a Clown’ and the title track, AmeriKKKant is primarily stacked to the gills with throwaways or actively bad, downright embarrassing songs (‘Wargasm’, ‘Antifa’). Al has never exactly been a wordsmith but when your big political anthem has the words “we’re not snowflakes” in the chorus, I think it’s time to rethink matters. Mercifully, it’s not very long so at least you can save yourself from dying of boredom alongside dying of embarrassment.

Standouts: Victims of a Clown, AmeriKKKa

Does this one really count? Eh I’m including it. Despite insisting that 2007’s ‘The Last Sucker’ would be Ministry’s final work, ol’ Al had a few more tricks up his sleeve. The second cover album by the group to be released, Undercover functions less as a set of Ministry renditions of famous songs and more a hodgepodge of different ideas. It’s both a covers album and a semi-greatest hits release, though all the songs are re-recorded so don’t expect to be hearing the original version of ‘N.W.O’ here. Because of this, the album lacks a real identity and fees more like a joking toss off than anything else really. The chaotic quality of the covers doesn’t help matters, as they range from good (‘Strangehold’) to average (‘Sharp Dressed Man’) to just really weird (‘Rehab’. Yes, the Amy Winehouse song). It’s worth a listen, but that’s it really.

Standouts: Strangehold, Paranoid
The Last Sucker

Sometimes, you just have to pack it all in. Pitched as Ministry’s final album, ‘The Last Sucker’ closes off the Bush trilogy in a suitably grandiose fashion yet hits a somewhat shaky landing. ‘The Last Sucker’ is the cumulation of everything the Bush trilogy had to offer, for better and worse. It’s loud, heavy, fast and bombastic but at this point it feels like we’ve already been here before. Things hit the ground running on the chunky monster of an opening that is ‘Let’s Go’, and the pace is kept up through songs like ‘The Dick Song’ and ‘Death and Destruction’, before finishing off with a 13 minute orchestral finale in ‘End of Days’, a fittingly epic end to this part of their career. But there’s also some chaff like ‘No Glory’ and the iffy cover of ‘Roadhouse Blues’. It’s not their best, and for a farewell record it’s a bit disappointing, but there’s still a lot of fun to be had here regardless

Standouts: Let’s Go, Watch Yourself, The Dick Song, End of Days
With Sympathy

This is a very easy target, let’s be real here. A cheesy, glossy, romantic synth pop album by the madmen that recorded ‘Thieves’? Are you kidding? Thankfully, ‘With Sympathy’ has ascended to the echelons of ‘debut albums that are seen as bad but are actually pretty good’, right next to ‘Pablo Honey’ and the first Genesis album. Indeed, most of your enjoyment of this album is going to hinge on if you like synth-pop and if you can handle Al trying to sound like Duran Duran. It’s corny, it’s cheesy, it’s… very catchy as a matter of fact, but most of all it’s completely alien to the rest of their catalogue. But that’s not a bad thing, ‘With Sympathy’ deserves some sympathy as it’s actually a fun and catchy little set of songs. Special mentions go to opener ‘Effigy (I’m Not An)’, the atmospheric ‘Revenge’ and the Kraftwerk-lite ‘She’s Got a Cause’. Give it a try, it’s not as bad as Al wants you to think.

Standouts: Effigy (I’m Not An), Revenge, I Wanted to Tell Her, Work for Love

‘Twitch’ might not be Ministry’s best album, but it’s arguably their most important. It’s a stepping stone record, one half stuck in the synth-pop realms of ‘With Sympathy’ and one half firmly planted in ‘Land of Rape and Honey’ territory. Its a blend of old and new. Synth heavy and danceable? Yes, but it’s also loud, abrasive and downright weird at times. This transitional sound is best seen on the track ‘All Day (Remix)’, a stomping, sample heavy hunk of industrial dance that sounds like a catchy club number ripped straight from the pits of hell. While I doubt anyone is going to be citing songs like ‘Crash and Burn’ as their favourite Ministry songs (plus the album reeks of the mid 80s), the record’s importance to the band can’t be overstated and it stands as a vital part of their history and development.

Standouts: Just Like You, We Believe, All Day (Remix), My Possession
Cover Up

“What’s this doing so far up the list?”, you probably aren’t asking. Well, I really quite like it. Compared to the scattershot quality of the other covers album, ‘Cover-Up’ feels far more cohesive (plus the covers themselves are just generally better). The inclusion of three already released tracks is a bit of a cheap move, but the new stuff here stands out well enough on its own for that not to be too big an issue. Obviously their covers of ‘Lay Lady Lay’ and ‘Supernaut’ are present but new to this set is a fuzzed up, party starting cover of ‘Get It On’ by T. Rex, a faithful but distinctly Ministry sounding rendition of ‘Radar Love’ and a weirdly excellent and wild cover of Sachmo’s ‘What a Wonderful World’, which goes from a weary dark piano ballad into a wall of noise thrash attack. Really though, ‘Cover-Up’ is just a fun album that doesn’t take itself too seriously and does justice to the songs it tackles.

Standouts: Under My Thumb, Get It On, Radar Love, What a Wonderful World
Dark Side of the Spoon

If there ever was an album that people will point to as evidence that Ministry were falling off, it would be this one. ‘DSOTS’s legacy has unfortunately built up an air of mediocracy around it to some, which isn’t really fair because in all honesty it’s a good, even great album and far from a bad record. While it’s a bit lopsided and has a couple of iffy tracks, ‘Dark Side’ is mainly batting to win with a strong opening lineup of tracks (‘Supermanic Soul’, ‘Whip and Chain’, ‘Bad Blood’) and several solid fan favourite deep cuts like ‘Vex & Siolence’ and ‘Nursing Home’. The more eclectic use of sampling (which even includes a Charles Mingus track) also gives the album a more interesting and unique feel compared to some of their lesser works, and the album definitely feels like an attempt to branch out and experiment. Is it their best? Heavens no, but does it deserve your time? Absolutely

Standouts: Supermanic Soul, Whip and Chain, Bad Blood, Nursing Home, Vex and Siolence
From Beer to Eternity

Ministry might be the only band to release a goodbye album twice. That being said, ‘From Beer to Eternity’ is, uh… actually good. It’s also totally insane and one of the most unhinged things the band ever made too. While ‘The Last Sucker’ felt more like a big final statement, ‘From Beer to Eternity’ sounds more like a celebration of Ministry as a whole, as well as heartfelt send off to guitarist Mike Scaccia. It’s a little bit of everything really. Classic Ministry Industrial (‘Punch in the Face’), Bush trilogy era thrash (‘Side F/X’), more straightforward metal (‘PermaWar’), even some stabs back at Industrial club a la ‘Twitch’ (‘Hail to His Majesty’). Like basically every Ministry album post 2006, it’s got faults but despite them, ‘From Beer to Eternity’ is not only a genuinely good record but also quite a refreshing and exhilarating listen.

Standouts: PermaWar, Perfect Storm, Fairly Unbalanced, Side F/X, Thanx But No Thanx
Moral Hygiene

After the mess that was ‘AmeriKKKant’, even Ministry’s most ardent defenders were having trouble sticking up for the band. All those claims of having fallen off and becoming washed up seem to have actually caught up to them finally. Thankfully, the follow up ‘Moral Hygiene’ proved that there was still gas in the tank so to speak. Not only is it an improvement in nearly every way, but it might actually be the start of a bright new era for the band. While there’s still some cheese here, mainly in the sample heavy ‘Death Toll’ which lacks much of a message outside of someone repeating the word ‘Covid-19’ over and over, ‘Moral Hygiene’ manages to avoid many of the issues plaguing its older brother and shine on its own. Again, it’s not perfect and there is the odd stumbling block, but being such an improvement (and probably their best album since 2006) does it wonders.

Standouts: Alert Level, Good Trouble, Search and Destroy, Broken System, TV Song 6
The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste

I can hear your cries of rage now, but hear me out. This is a good album, a great album BUT I like the others more than it. The impact ‘The Mind-‘ has had on Industrial music and metal in general cannot be understated. With the addition of thrash riffs to their dense, sample heavy sound, Ministry turned what was once an interesting experiment into a full fledged genre and that’s exemplified perfectly on the album’s legendary first three tracks (‘Thieves’, ‘Burning Inside’ and ‘Never Believe’), while songs like ‘So What?’ and ‘Breathe’ basically predated NIN’s style by a good 5 years. This album is a classic for a reason BUT it isn’t perfect, mainly because of the last three tracks which include the awkward hip hop thingamajig ‘Total’. Despite this stumbling block at the end, ‘The Mind-‘ still stands up remarkably well, not just as Ministry album but as a classic and influential record in general.

Standouts: Thieves; Burning Inside, Never Believe, Breathe, So What?
Rio Grande Blood

If ‘Houses of the Molé’ was a cry of anger towards then president George Bush, then ‘Rio Grande Blood’ was a veritable explosion of rage. Despite lacking much of the industrial flair that made them so popular, ‘Grande’ makes up for that with such fury and passion that the album feels like it’s bound to burst into flames at any second. Right out of the gate, things hit fast and don’t let up with the blazing title track before blasting from one place to the next , with some of the band’s most intense and best tracks to date (‘The Great Satan’, Fear (Is Big Buisness)’). While the goofy ‘Gangrene’, which features retired drill Sargent Mark threatening to stick his weiner in the listener’s nose, and the 9/11 truther sampling ‘LiesLiesLies’ knock things down a peg, the sheer power and energy of these songs help make ‘Rio Grande Blood’ one of the band’s most enthralling listens.

Standouts: Rio Grande Blood, Señor Peligro, Fear (Is Big Buisness), The Great Satan, Khyber Pass
Houses Of The Molé

2004 was a year of great change for the world. Facebook launched, Saddam was put on trial and most importantly in this case, George W. Bush Jr. was re-elected as the War on Terror raged on. The anger Al Jourgensen felt over this lead him to forge ahead with ‘Houses of the Molé’, a creative 180° for Ministry. Stripping away most of the Industrial rhythms and replacing them with furious, thrashy riffs, the album kickstarted a creative new era for the band. Despite its very topical feel, ‘Molé’ still stands up excellently today with an almost unmatched aggression that hadn’t been felt in their music for some time. While it failed to help recapture the commercial highs seen with ‘Psalm 69’ and ‘Filth Pig’, ‘Molé’ introduced a legion of new, angry young fans to the group and proved mainly that there was still a hell of a lot of gas in the tank.

Standouts: No W, Worthless, Warp City, World, Worm
The Land of Rape and Honey

Another somewhat hot take, and I get that. If ‘The Mind-‘ was the explosion then ‘The Land of Rape and Honey’ was the match lighting the fuse as it were. Fully embracing the heavier sound the group had begun to carve out on their last record, ‘TLORAH’ cranks up the guitars and mixes it with the then trademark dance elements to create a loud, abrasive, dark but still vaguely groovy album. This is the first album where Al finally feels comfortable with what he’s making and the loss of the fake British accent is a sign of that. Without this record, there would be no Nine Inch Nails, no Marilyn Manson, no Fear Factory or Rammstein, etc and really for that alone, it deserves a high rating. But thankfully, ‘TLORAH’ is also a genuinely killer record and an excellent blend of Industrial tinged rock, atmospheric instrumentals and wild and aggressive dance floor fillers.

Standouts: Stigmata, The Missing, Deity, Golden Dawn, The Land of Rape and Honey, I Prefer, Flashback
Psalm 69

With the release of ‘The Mind-‘, Ministry had built it up a relatively small but dedicated fanbase, hanging upon their every word and note. Despite the acclaim being sent their way, commercial success seemed to always allude the band. Until this album that is. If you ask someone what the best Industrial metal record for a newbie is, they’ll either say ‘The Downward Spiral’, or this. And for good reason too. ‘Psalm 69’ (or ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ, whatever the fuck that means) is a certified classic from start to finish, cranking up the riffs, the intensity and the swagger all into one neat little package and unleashing it onto the MTV crowd. The result was success the band had never previously dreamed of, and with an album as solid and influential as this, and with a run of tracks as high tier as seen on the record, it’s easy to see why. Basically required listening for anyone looking to get into the genre.

Standouts: N.W.O, Just One Fix, TV 2, Jesus Built My Hotrod, Scare Crow, Psalm 69
Filth Pig

The legacy of ‘Filth Pig’ has been a rocky one. Released an agonising 4 years after ‘Psalm 69’ and doing away with the strong industrial sound of that album, the LP was met with both confusion and anger at the time. Where were the massive, clattering drums? The lighting fast riffing? Why is there a Bob Dylan cover on here? All valid questions, all answered by Al with a shrug and a wink. Time has been incredibly graceful to ‘Filth Pig’ and its status as the dark horse of the band’s catalogue has only risen it in esteem throughout the years. Sure, If you wanted Psalm 70, you’re not getting it here, but that’s not a bad thing. The grungy and sludgy riffs, the sheer rage bubbling underneath it all, the weird goofy beauty in the ‘Lay Lady Lay’ cover, etc. I could ramble on about why I think this is their best album, but I can’t really do it justice. I just… really really like it. So uh, number one it is.

Standouts: Reload, Filth Pig, Lava, Useless, Dead Guy, The Fall, Lay Lady Lay
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