Aug 022012


(As he explains in this review, BadWolf is not happy with the comeback album by Ministry.)

I reacted, somewhat seriously, to “Ghouldiggers,” the introductory track on Ministry’s would-be comeback album, Relapse. Partway through the song, Al Jorgenson breaks into a skit wherein he calls his manager, only to be handled by an aloof secretary—her accent lies somewhere between Sheffield and Valley Girl, her actress did not deserve whatever pay she received—and placed on hold. What is wrong with these people, Jorgenson asks, what is their major malfunction?

A Ministry song actually irked me, right there—with a skit, no less.

In my waking life I work as, among other things, a receptionist. The success of my job depends partially on how well I shield my employer from his or her own clients. I walk into a Ministry album and expect to hear about “thieves and liars.” Not petty annoyances such as myself. And yet I continued spinning “Ghouldiggers” and the tracks that follow it for a period of weeks, despite not actively liking them. What is my major malfunction?

Well, among other things, that I’m listening to a post-Filth Pig Ministry record wherein Jorgenson sings like Larry the Cable Guy. To any musicians reading this: do not write a comeback album called Relapse that relies, heavily, on an unnatural accent. It did not work for Ministry. It did not work for Eminem. It will not work for anyone.

At least this Relapse is a fascinating failure. Without the aforementioned skit, I might never have noticed.

The music itself isn’t half bad—as much as I dislike Ministry’s thrashier style, Relapse might be the best example of it. Reportedly lead guitarist Mike Scaccia led the band’s reunion for this record, and it shows, especially on the album’s aggressive highlight, “Double Tap.”

The fault rests almost entirely on Jorgenson’s shoulders. He understands that conflict runs the engine behind metal, but sounds annoyed at his worst. His stilted, near-comic delivery sucks the power from his rallying cries while his assaults, like aforementioned “Ghouldiggers”, come across as jaded.

Crusty curmudgeon works well for artists like Tom Warrior, who felt prematurely aged from the very beginning, but falls flat for bands who relied so heavily on the vibrance of youth—it cannot work for the man who wrote “So What.” Call it the James Hetfield syndrome, and Jorgenson cultivates that image for himself to the point of self-parody. The title track sprays self-loathing on the listener like so much of Gallagher’s watermelon chunks.

Gallagher made a decent living for himself by launching detritus at his audience, but I don’t see Ministry doing the same, regardless of how many times Jorgenson hypocritically compares himself to Jimi Hendrix and Amy Winehouse before complaining that people only want to watch him die. Relapse, however, feels unflinchingly—and pitifully—alive. It will be some people’s favorite Ministry record, but not mine.



  19 Responses to “MINISTRY: “RELAPSE””

  1. Self-parody indeed. Son…I am disappoint.

  2. Oh… my…. GOD!!!

    It’s a negative review!!!

    Batten down the hatches!

    Inform the first lady!!!

    Get to the choppa!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. receptionist, LOL, did you even finish high school?

    • Thank you for your insightful commentary about the new Ministry album. It is appreciated.

    • I have two degrees in Journalism and Philosophy from a private and quite well-respected college.

      Which is exactly why I’m a receptionist.

      You jackass.

      • i hope you are joking, why not medicine or physics?

      • Rock on under-appreciated degree holding brother. Anthropologist/innkeeper here. Shit’ll get better someday!

        As for the album Ministry’s a band I have never been able to get into in any way, shape, or form. I can listen to Psalm 69 or The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste and like them well enough when I’m reminded of them but I’ve never felt compelled to seek them out or listen to the more than once in a rare while. Just looked up Double Tap on youtube and…well, I feel about the same. It’s not bad but it’s missing almost all the things I’m personally looking for in metal.

        As proof of how terrible a fan I am I like the Static-X/Burton Bell cover of Burning Inside way better than the original. Pretty sure that puts me on some sort of un-trve watchlist or something.

    • I also appreciate your analysis of the new Ministry album and the incorporation in your commentary of “LOL”, which is a sure sign of higher education. I’m sure BadWolf will try to work that into his next review.

      • LoL, I hope you are joking, I’m guessing you work as a janitor

        • You must be new around here. Otherwise you would know I never joke, ever. And yes, I am a kind of janitor. I clean up a big loris compound in exchange for sexual favors. Want to make something of it?

        • No, that would be me. LOL.

          By the way, what do you do for a living?

      • Wow, so we finally hit the big time eh? You can tell by the fact that we’re attracted self-righteous trolls. Soon other species will doubtless appear.

  4. Those videos, man

    • Hey, thanks to “99 Percenters”, I can now count to 99 in only ten numbers. I also think I now know what a video that has a budget of $99 looks like.

      • Good on him for skipping past the bullshit though, I figured any number higher than the amount of fingers I have didn’t exist. Now I know that my left ringer finger is 99.

        • Good point. Still, I think I’d rather have one finger be a 42. Probably a thumb.

          True, thumbs aren’t technically fingers, but for mathematical fuctions, it’s merely semantics. They still count.

  5. Why the hate for janitors? They clean shit. I really appreciate that.

  6. This band promised to never return 🙁 Do they know where liars go???

  7. I agree with almost everything you said about the album that was on my “must buy” -list and now is on my “buy something else” -list. However i interpreted the skit about being put on hold as being directed towards managers and record labels, not the receptionist.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.