Monday, 1 November 2021

Ministry "Moral Hygiene" (2021)

My first few spins of this record had me in an astonishment I wasn't sure would hold. With my listening pleasures interrupted by a sickness impairing my ability to hear, I now return to Moral Hygiene with that initial exuberance intact. It would seem that forty years as Ministry has armed these rebellious musicians with a craft and voice to boldly express their social-political dissatisfaction with a vigor that reaches back through the years. The new music pulls up shades of many avenues explored before in their back catalog. The result is magnetic, gradually pulling you into its grasp track by track.

Things start gently, brooding a dystopian atmosphere with chunks of grisly guitar melody, echoing shouts roaring over the marching baseline and shuffling percussion. If not for the distinctive use of vocal snippets it could easily be mistaken for a modern Killing Joke track, a band that massively influenced them. The gears then shift up with Sabotage Is Sex. A busy throbbing baseline drives the track forward with a maddening power and groove as Jello Biafra lends his classic voice to the growing criticisms.

The albums theme blossoms as Disinformation samples former president Trump's voice back into the mix to shine a light on the fake news problem we all face in this polarized time. Typically his words are manipulated as are that of various newscasters. Personally I love the dystopian tone and contrast it stirs in the reflection of Edward Snowden's trusting words. Unsurprisingly there is no holding back when it comes to the political sphere with Greta Thunberg and other key voices in the world being sampled in to contextualize the themes that play out in these broody songs.

The Industrial Metal madness plays out over the next few tracks in its various shades. With each spin I'm grabbed intensely as its lyrics and snippets give me much food for thought and reflection. Then things reach a sublime height of madness with the two closing songs. Death Toll marches a carnival baseline groove through Kenneth Copeland's absurd declarations of interventions by God in the annihilation of Covid-19. Contrasted against the rising death toll... Its just a work of art in my mind.

It rolls into TV Song #6 seamlessly to frighten you out of its hypnotic persuasion. Toying with gristly Grindcore blast beats, ridiculous adrenaline fueled instrumentation and noise manipulation, the whole affair ends with a deliberate lack of resolve. Its as if there are no answers to the topics anguished over. The world is in strange place and the solutions are yet to be found. Its chilling but musically thrilling. I'm amazed Ministry came back so strong. At a time when I am thinking of trying to get out of my groove and find new artists, turning this one down would of been an unknown tragedy!

Rating: 8/10