By Professor Jocko

As we are now in our fourth decade of metal, several icons have emerged; these are bands that have stood the test of time, bands that have been  huge influences on many other successful groups that you know today. Naturally, the Big 4 are among the elite that are still drawing huge crowds on tour today; Black Sabbath, Venom, Kreator are others off the top of my head that have helped to create what metal is today, and you can now add Ministry to that list. Al Jourgensen has been the undisputed leader of the band for over 30 years now, with its origins in Chicago where American industrial music first began. After all of the years of touring and 12 studio albums later, here they are again, despite any previous break-ups or unfortunate circumstances.

Ministry has a sound of their own and just don't fall into any particular group or genre of other current bands.  However, if you compare them to themselves, more specifically with other albums such as "Animositisomina", "The Last Sucker", "Houses of the Molé" and "Rio Grande Blood", you'll notice that "Relapse" has some heavier sounds and more of a driving beat that adds a lot more of a punch to the entire record. "Ghouldiggers" is the first track which starts with Jorgensen's' editorial on the epitome of the underbelly of being in a band. The rest of the song contains some other entertaining parts regarding a telephone conversation between Al and the secretary of his manager. Essentially, the song simply kicks ass, especially where guitars are concerned;  Sin Quirin and Mike Scaccia just tear through the rhythm and lead parts with incredible speed and accuracy.

Let's face it, Ministry is more of an instrumental band, where the vocals are more or less a repeated chorus in many ways, reinforced by heavy melodies. The songs "Double Tap", "FreeFall"  and "Kleptocracy" strongly reinforce this idea, with a few spoken-word parts by Al. A nice surprise is a cover of  one of my favorite thrash-metal bands from way-back-when:  "United Forces", which is a Stormtroopers of Death cover from the 1985 "Speak English or Die" LP. The track "99 Percenters" is something that you may be a little familiar with, as it was the first single from the album, released this last December, which seems to be more lyrical, in a way that is more metal oriented and less technical than previous tracks. The song "Relapse" is my favorite song on the album, mostly because it relies heavily on vocals to carry it through, more so than some of the other tracks, making it a little less repetitive.
One of the more diverse tracks is the song "Weekend Warrior", which borders onf a comical side, which also takes a different approach vocally, reminding me slightly of the styling's of Megadeths' Dave Mustaine. I suppose if I had to nitpick at something, it would probably be at the last track which is "Relapse (Defibrillator Mix)", which just seems to be something that you would need a few X-pills to enjoy; the song seems to last forever and doesn't really seem to go anywhere...I guess that's what a mix is, though... a deep repetitive groove fit for a club-type atmosphere.