Revolver has teamed with Ministry for an exclusive "bone" vinyl variant of their new album, Moral Hygiene. It's limited to 300 — order your copy now!
Ministry have had one of the most fascinating (and storied) trajectories in heavy music. Since emerging in the early Eighties as new-wave synth-pop peddlers, mainman Al Jourgensen's band dramatically evolved over the ensuing decades to become a highly influential and celebrated force in sample-slinging, chaos-embracing, political-raging industrial metal — a style epitomized on groundbreaking albums like The Land of Rape and Honey, The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste and Psalm 69. In honor of the announcement of their 15th album, Moral Hygiene, we asked our readers to choose their favorite Ministry song from throughout their epic catalog. The results are ranked accordingly below.
Arriving on the heels of their massively influential 1992 album Psalm 69, 1996's Filth Pig was a difficult sell for some fans. "Everyone hated [Filth Pig]," Jourgensen stated in his autobiography. "They all wanted Psalm 70, and I gave them an electronic-free record full of gun-in-mouth dirges of nothing but pain." The mid-paced title track embodies that pain — in the best way possible — as it lurches from caustic riff to searing harmonica and just generally crushes everything in its path. Embrace the suck.
Ministry may have teased their industrial-metal leanings on 1988's The Land of Rape and Honey, but no one could have imagined the stunning creative jump they would make just one year later on The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste. Jourgensen and Co. seriously upped the musical aggression as they incorporated more thrash influences and venomous socio-political messages. The mid-album build-and-release banger "So What" coolly draws listeners in with an entrancing bass line, repetitive drumbeat and guitar harmonics (plus a choice Scarface laughter sample), before the track erupts — and Jourgensen starts spewing his nihilistic verses: "Die! die! die! die! / Scum sucking depravity debauched! / Anal fuck-fest, thrill Olympics … So what? so what?" It's a violent, psychotic thrill ride.
The lead single for Ministry's breakout album, Psalm 69, is a full-throttle blast of industrial-strength, speed-freak psychobilly. The debauchery that surrounded the creation of Psalm 69 is legendary — so it's only fitting that the album's debut song featured an ecstatically nonsensical guest vocal performance laid down by an "absolutely shitfaced" Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers.
The third single from Psalm 69 is one of the finest examples of Jourgensen's expert-level ability to splice movie samples into pummeling industrial metal for a truly chilling aural experience. "Just One Fix" features excerpts from Frank Sinatra in the The Man With the Golden Arm ("just one fix!"), Sid and Nancy ("never trust a junkie!"), Peter Fonda ("gimme the Thorazine!) and Junkie author and beat icon William S. Burroughs (who also appears in the music video directed by Peter Christopherson of Throbbing Gristle/Coil fame). The massive drums and hypnotic riff are the centerpieces of this burner, on which Jourgensen's blown-out vocals guide listeners through a tale of drugged-out bleakness.
Ministry's third full-length album, The Land of Rape and Honey, is a line of demarcation between their earlier synth dance/EBM sounds and latter-day caustic industrial-metal style. The album — the first to feature Jourgensen's longtime collaborator Paul Barker — kicks off with "Stigmata." The simple, yet slamming, track is built around relentless drum loops, distortion-fried vocals and pitch-shifted guitar samples and serves as a powerful statement of purpose for the rest of the record, as well as the scorched-earth sonic assault Ministry would deploy over the next decade.