By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)
Album: From Beer to Eternity
Release Date: 9/10/13
Following the release of 2007’s The Last Sucker and the world tour that followed, Ministry mainman Al Jourgensen claimed he would put the band to rest indefinitely. Retiring on top of a successful career renaissance, Ministry released a trio of albums during the years of the George W. Bush presidency, heavily criticizing the administration. And Ministry and Bush were to live happily ever after in history. However, that plan didn’t exactly follow through.
By 2011, Jorgensen had reunited with long-time Ministry guitarist and collaborator, Mike Scaccia, to work on their country side-project, Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters. Scaccia had left Ministry during The Last Sucker sessions to reunite with Death Metal pioneers Rigor Mortis, his pre-Ministry band. It wasn’t long after getting a taste of the brutal break-neck riffs Scaccia was so well known for that Jourgensen decided to resurrect Ministry, and 2012’s lackluster effort, Relapse, was produced.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck the Ministry camp in December of last year. Scaccia collapsed on stage and died of congestive heart failure while performing in his home state of Texas. His death deeply affected Jourgensen, who had a long close friendship with him. Nevertheless, triumph overcame tragedy as Jourgensen decided to use Scaccia’s leftover tracks and churn out one last final piece of uncompromising, politically-fueled industrial-metal.
From Beer to Eternity, Ministry’s thirteenth and supposedly final studio album, was release on Sept. 10 via Jourgensen’s 13th Planet Records. After the flop that was Relapse, From Beer to Eternity is a crushingly concise piece of music that will leave Ministry fans of all era pleased.
The album kicks off the lengthy intro track, “Hail to His Majesty (Peasants), a mid-tempo slugger that utilizes Ministry’s trademark quip and ranting. From there, “Punch in the Face” slams with the industrial-metal the band has spent a career pioneering. Classic Ministry through and through, the track sees heavy use of (often comical) samples with machine gun-like programmed drums colliding into a wall of thrash guitars.
From there, more trademark Ministry takes hold. A trio of tracks, including the first single, “PermaWar,” “Perfect Storm,” and “Fairly Unbalanced” all use (and abuse) political themes, giving the far right a repeated kick in the balls. “PermaWar,” a track that’s very in tune which today’s political climate involving the issues with Syria, talks of America’s ever-thriving lust for violence and war, and politicians getting their rocks off in the process. “Perfect Storm” continues along similar lines, with Jourgensen screaming, “These politicians stick their heads in the sand, that’s their solution to the problem at hand. A perfect storm is coming our way, but I think this one is gonna stay.” If you can get past the tired growling vocals, these are really good songs, among the best the album has to offer. Finally, “Fairly Unbalanced” takes a jab at the overtly biased Fox News Channel with a riff that sounds like it could have been heard on Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All.
Sample heavy tracks “The Horror” and “Side FX Include Mikey’s Middle Finger (TV 4)” hark back to Ministry’s early and more primitive industrial days, while “Lesson Unlearned” incorporates an infectious groove amidst the chaos. The Album then begins to drag, with the unnecessarily overdrawn tracks “Thanx but No Thanx” and “Change of Luck.” These tracks get their point across well before their respective eight and seven-minute marks. Finally, the album concludes in true Ministry fashion, with a clash of unintelligible noise on “Enjoy the Quiet.”
From Beer to Eternity is a mostly solid album, their most solid in over a decade. Any riff of Scaccia’s is certainly a highlight. Long gone are the days of The Land of Rape and Honey and The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, Ministry’s groundbreaking classics. But the band has naturally evolved into a more thrash metal direction, with the emphasis of classic industrial elements dwindling. The album does have it’s share of moments where it touches back to those days, more than any Ministry album since 1996’s Filth Pig. And, thanks to Scaccia, there are no shortage of well constructed, brutal heavy riffs.
All in all, From Beer to Eternity is a good send off for Ministry, as well as an accurate portrait of Mike Scaccia’s intricate style. Pleasing to fans old and new, an album certainly worth picking up for fans of industrial and extreme metal.