Review Summary: Make Ministry Retire Again
Remember Ministry’s anti-Bush album trilogy? Remember how those albums spliced samples that were admittedly immature but still cheeky and confrontational? Remember how they injected a ton of thrash influence that not only reflected the angry backlash associated with the War on Terror, but also revitalized the industrial metal giants after a near decade of stagnancy? I know those albums weren’t exactly masterpieces, but they had a hell of a lot more going on than what Al Jourgensen has to say about The Donald.
The idiotically titled AmeriKKKant could best be described as a cross between The Land of Rape and Honey and Filth Pig. The former is invoked by the compositions’ samples and hypnotic soundscapes being more prominent than Al’s distorted barks, while the latter comes through in the sludgy riff work and sluggish tempos of songs like “Twilight Zone” and “Game Over.” Of course, there are a couple outliers as “We’re Tired of It” brings in some punky speed and “Antifa” is another one of those shallow party protest songs that keep getting made for some unknown reason.
While such a combination could be fascinating in an ambient sense, the album ends up being the most neutered thing Ministry has done since With Sympathy. The emphasis on slower tempos could’ve led to an ominous atmosphere, but the lack of memorable riffs or catchy beats just results in consistent dullness. Having the samples take center stage would suggest that Al picked some of his most visceral clips yet, but they don’t say anything substantial beyond repetitive Trump soundbites and directionless quotes from Charlie Chaplin’s Great Dictator speech, among other randomness.
But for an album that was inspired by President Trump, it’s fascinating how little of it is even directed at his administration. The band could’ve easily made an album’s worth of Twitter meltdowns, excessive golfing, Russian collusions, and White House staff turnovers but all we get is a bunch of #MAGA quotes at varying speeds. Splicing quotes to make George W. Bush call himself an asshole was childish and maybe even uncalled for in hindsight, but at least it made you chuckle as you cringed. There is nothing fun here. I know Captain Covfefe is an easy target, but considering how Al only made a new Ministry album to hit that target, it’s pitiful to see him barely make anything more than an unenthusiastic dent.
AmeriKKKant is dead on arrival for naysayers already condemning Ministry for attacking Trump and their cringy association with Antifa, but the band should really be criticized for the half-assed way they went about doing so. It’s well documented that Al Jourgensen hates doing anything remotely Ministry-related, and this album’s flat songwriting and lack of true bite do nothing to dissuade this notion. Al will keep desperately torturing himself on the live circuit for years to come, but for his sanity’s sake I’ll keep pretending that his studio output stopped with Bush’s presidency.
Originally published at http://indymetalvault.com