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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Ministry

Rantology

Review by Gary Hill

This compilation showcases a nice slice of Ministry music. For long time fans of the band, it might be a bit lacking in that they probably already have versions of most of this material. I have to say, though, for someone who doesn't own anything else by Ministry, this rocks! Many bands that fall into the metal or techno styles of music have a tendency to be very similar from song to song. Since Ministry skates between the two styles, there is plenty of variety here. While none of the songs are really weak, there is only one that lags far behind the rest. The result of these factors is that this is a great, entertaining, dark, fairly brutal disc.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
No W (Redux)
Starting with percussion, this one includes several sound bites of George W. Bush. It comes in with gothic, dramatic sounds that feel like the soundtrack to The Omen. Then it bursts out into metallic fury that is aggressive and very powerful. The gothic elements come into the mix again later as this thing runs through with its frantic firepower. I can't imagine a better way to start off this disc.
The Great Satan (Previously Unreleased)
This one begins with a Condoleeza Rice quote from the congressional hearings on 9/11. It is furious and ultra heavy thrash with some hints of industrial music. More George W. sound bites show up throughout the track.
Wrong (Update Mix)
A cool rhythmic structure begins this one. It false more into a Nine Inch Nails sort of groove with Perry Farrell like vocals over the top at varying points. This one is certainly more purely industrial techno than the previous two cuts. The President is back in the form of sound bites. This one is aggressive and powerful, while still less metal than the previous two. It makes for a great change of pace. 
N.W.O. (Update Mix)
Once again, the old familiar voice is back on the sound bites on this techno, exceptionally danceable, but still extremely crunchy number. It's another winner on a disc that's full of them.
Stigmata (Update Mix)
This one comes in with a cool electronic groove and is another that feels a bit like Nine Inch Nails with some Marilyn Manson thrown in for good measure. This one is extremely catchy, even though it also feels just a little weird. It just goes to show how hard it is to pick a favorite off of this collection. 
Waiting
More thrashy metal in its approach, this one still has some of those techno elements along with it. It does a nice job of changing up the texture to keep it interesting.
Warp City (Alternate Mix)
Starting with drums that feel a bit like "Surfing Bird," a preacher comes over top of this, then eventually rock guitar swirls up around this. After the clergyman tells his story this ramps up to a dirty, heavy metal fury. This feels a bit like a faster, more aggressive take on Brutal Planet era Alice Cooper to me. 
Jesus Built My Hotrod (Update Mix)
Appropriately starting with the sounds of a hot rod, then percussion and a weird voice over come in. This runs through for almost a minute until this song jump starts into a fast paced metallic romp with a killer southern tinged rock and roll groove. This is another that's a bit weird, but oh so cool!
Bad Blood (Alternate Mix)
The intro on this has the most blatant electronic groove of the whole disc thus far. It also feels just a touch like Hawkwind at points during the introduction. It shifts to more of a gothic metal approach a bit later. This one has a killer heavy rock riff - but it is a bit generic. Still, as tasty as it is, who cares if it's not the most original thing you've ever heard? 
Animosity
Coming in with a riff that is one of the most pure metal on the disc, this one rocks out quite well. No molds are being broken here, but this one is especially tasty, even wandering into stoner metal a bit, and as always the change from one to track to the next is appreciated.
Unsung (Alternate Mix)
This is pretty cool. At times it feels a bit like a cross between Jane's Addiction and Korn, but then at other points its gritty, aggressive death-like metal that is incredibly furious. This one is another standout on a disc that is full of them, and is one of the most unique tracks on show here.
Bloodlines
This is another unusual number with an ambient, techno sort of arrangement that is both dark and very powerful. It turns more metallic later, but still retains its earlier textures. I have to say, this one is the weirdest piece on show here, and if there is a loser here, I'd say it's this one. Still, even with that fact, this is still pretty cool. It just doesn't hold up to the other material on show.not the most original thing you've ever heard?
Psalm 69 (Live In Paris)
This one is an incredibly cool and powerful gothic techno metallic jam. I think this is one of my favorites on show here. It runs through in this format for a time, then bursts into a full on metal jam. It alternates between these styles off an on, but one thing is certain, this rocks!
Thieves (Live In Seattle)
The most pure aggressive metal on display, this one is a gritty, but still rather techno oriented thrasher. It's good, but not as strong as some of the other stuff here.
The Fall (Live In London)
This feels to me like a dark techno Motorhead - if you can picture that. It's pretty cool, but probably not the best choice for disc closer.
 
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