MINISTRY “Moral Hygiene”
By Dr. Abner Mality
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I think MINISTRY should have wrapped it up after “The Last Sucker” but they keep pumping out new material. Ignoring the gazillion remix and live albums, their last release “AmeriKKKant” was nothing short of embarrassing and a prime example of band past their expiration date. Well, 2021 brings us “Moral Hygiene”...is this one on the same level?
Thankfully no, it is a definite step up from “AmeriKKKant”. But it’s also really no match for the band at it’s best, which was “Psalm 69” and the ferocious “Rio Grande Blood”. Al is trying to reach back into the past with some of “Moral Hygiene”, but hasn’t won the battle. Some of this smacks of prime MINISTRY...some of it is just dull and repetitive industrial metal.
“Alert Level” is a decent introduction, with heavy guitars, an ominous feel and a lot of the trademark samples from the news repeated on a feedback loop. Nothing earth-shattering but not bad. The next few tracks really perk things up. “Good Trouble” kicks up the energy level big time, with a fast throbbing bass and screaming guitar mixed with some laid back moments and more subtle sampling than what we usually get from MINISTRY. There’s even some wailing harmonica. Even better is “Sabotage Is Sex”, which is the best MINISTRY tune I’ve heard in over 10 years. This has got a killer thrash like crunch that gets the head banging right away. The vocals sure sound like Jello Biafra and the lyrics are slicing: “A body cam leads to body slam and a traffic ticket to BAM BAM BAM!” Now that’s the MINISTRY I love. “Disinformation” has another heaving bass riff and more crunchy guitar...the endlessly looped samples of Trump saying “fake news” is kind of tiring but that’s part of how the band works. This is another good track.
Then it’s like all the air has gone out of the balloon and we start getting the slow, boring MINISTRY of recent releases. “Search And Destroy” is average, but not too bad, but the next 3 cuts are all less metal and more sample based, with slow tempos and monotonous passages. “We Shall Resist” is a snoozefest and “Death Toll”, with crazy preacher Kenneth Copeland being sampled over and over on top of a boring hook is just plain lazy songwriting by the numbers. At least the record ends on an up note with the very abrasive and hammering “TV Song #6”, which almost takes the riff from “Thieves” and puts it through an electronic blender. We get more Kenneth Copeland and Trump, but this song really sounds like something from “A Mind Is A Terrible Thing to Taste” and “Psalm 69”, which is never a bad thing.
So a mixed bag for “Moral Hygiene”, but at least a good portion of it is a return to classic sounds.