Review 2100 : Ministry – Hopiumforthemasses – English

Day 1 - 13 - Ministry

Ministry perpetuates its legend.

Formed in 1981, the American band led by the charismatic Al Jourgensen (vocals, ex-Revolting Cocks) and now accompanied by John Bechdel (keyboards, ex-Prong), Monte Pittman (guitar, ex-Prong), Cesar Soto (guitar/vocals, ex-3 Headed Snake), Roy Mayorga (drums, Hellyeah, ex-Ozzy Osbourne, ex-Stone Sour, ex-Soulfly, ex-Amebix) and Paul D’Amour (bass, ex-Tool) continue their partnership with Nuclear Blast for the release of Hopiumforthemasses, their sixteenth album.

The album kicks off with B. D.E. and its jerky riffs that respond to samples and then to Al‘s cybernetic voice, recreating an eerie but catchy ambience. The rhythm eventually picks up speed while continuing its social critique, before letting Goddamn White Trash reveal a much more abrasive sound, sometimes coupled with disturbing keyboards and bursts of vivid vocals. The heady mix welcomes Pepper Keenan (Down, Corrosion of Conformity) as it continues to stomp on our ears before the rhythm becomes half-joyous, half-dark on Just Stop Oil, where Country influences meet raw denunciation and a sometimes more aggressive approach. A strange voice appears on Aryan Embarrassment, creating a controlled sense of awkwardness and anguish with which the musicians will play, placing simple riffs that serve as the basis for a handful of strange voices accompanied by Jello Biafra (ex-Dead Kennedys), before returning to a more traditional sound on the angry TV Song, where fast patterns remind us of albums from over fifteen years ago. The band continues with the heavy and effective New Religion, where the backing vocals sound almost like a Gospel choir, once again creating an intense contrast with the vocalist’s interventions on the steady beat, before an eerie quietude appears on It’s Not Pretty, the next track. The first two minutes are very quiet and choir-filled, but the sound then becomes more energetic, welcoming samples, abrupt harmonics and a strangely danceable final, then the band introduces us to new tonalities with Eugene Hütz (Gogol Bordello) on Cult of Suffering. The contrast between the title of this long, offbeat track and the welcoming ambience is total, letting the guest bring his universe to the band, who end their album with Ricky’s Hand and its surprising New Wave tones, but which fit in relatively well with the crazy musical direction.

Ministry has been proving its worth on the Industrial scene for forty years, and the Americans are clearly keen to have some fun with Hopiumforthemasses. The themes are as committed and denunciatory as ever, but the sounds will surprise many!


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