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MINISTRY - Rio Grande Blood   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Tuesday, 23 May 2006

 Everyone has their muse. The thing they cannot conquer. The mountain they cannot climb, and spend their life trying to defeat. Their artistic nemesis. And for Ministry, their nemesis is The President of The United States.

They really, really hate that George Bush.


Like “Houses Of The Mole”, “Animosomnia”, and “Rantology”, “Rio Grande Blood”Ministry’s fourth album in as many years – sees them returning to familiar themes. To a sonic barrage of grinding, brutal chords, breakneck drumming, and a Berlin Wall Of Sound. You can’t go in, or out, but observe with some kind of repelled awe.


If you’ve heard the previous albums, you’ll know the magic formula : distorted soundbites of Dubya remixed to make him say things like ‘I’m a brutal terrorist’, ‘I want money’, like some kind of comedy satiric website. Alien Jourgenson – Rob Zombie’s grandad – yells incoprehensably about Eagles, Illegals, War, and no doubt delivers some inpenetrable, incomprehensable critique of American Ideology. Mike Scacia no doubt ruptures the bones in his tattered neck by headbanging like some of political, furious version of Gwar, and the rest of the band grind away. And a choir of evil turns up occasionally.


But Ministry’s masterplan is coming to an end. Al J. has already said the band have only three albums left in them before they retire and he runs a local recording studio in his dotage. With this (and the Revolting Cocks “Cocked And Loaded”), it looks as if time – and possibly ideas and musical evolution - are running out. Beside which, when Dubya does step down, what will Ministry have to rail against?


If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, goes the cliché. In this case, they see no need to tamper with the formula, even if it does bring ever diminishing returns : to fill venues half the size of the ones they used to fill a decade ago, Ministry are now performing double headline shows with their alter-egos The Revolting Cocks.


Rio Grande Blood” is both a drearily predictable, furious thrash against the Republican Idolatory that has poisoned and perverted America, and also, yet another battle in the war against middle aged mediocrity that threatens so many acts of a certain age. It breaks no new ground, offers no solutions, and sounds like a giant drill pummelling through to the Earth’s Core. Unstoppable, inhuman, and immense. But is it any good? Well. The formula is wearing thin and we can see the emporer may indeed be naked.


Where do we go from here?


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