Album Review: MINISTRY AmeriKKKant
Ministry are one of the major pioneers of industrial metal. With classics like The Mind Is a Terrible Thing To Taste and Psalm 69; Ministry has released a body of work that blends the chaos of electronic instrumentation with the use of heavy metal. AmeriKKKant—out this week on Nuclear Blast—heavily embodies the current maelstrom of political hell that is swallowing the United States. So exactly how well does the band present its commentary alongside its musical composition? Additionally, where does the band's 14th studio album stack up against their lengthy discography?
The industrial elements pack a lot of grit. They present a mix of qualities that play out like a rave and feature moments that are more along the lines of trance music. Lyrical themes range from the bigotry of religious fanatics to the corruption of politicians like Trump and the GOP as well as the violence that comes from Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
“Twilight Zone” shrieks with anxiety during its rhythm. Al Jourgensen sings, “I remember waking up on November 9, 2016, and feeling a little bit nauseous / It felt like descending into a bottomless pit on a high-speed rail/ Careening head first into the unknown.” He, of course, is speaking of the day Trump was elected to office. These lines initiate the entire aura of discomfort and anger the record encompasses. “Victims Of A Clown” brings out a playful side of the instrumentation. Jourgensen again continues to state his feelings towards Trump and the damage he’s brought in such a short period of time. For example, when he says, “Angry man / Septic tank / Orange / Toxic lies / Rejection of reality / Cuts through like a knife.”
“We’re Tired Of It” is where Ministry decidedly switch towards their metal qualities over the electronics. The rampant drum beat flies alongside the thrashing rhythm, as Jourgensen spews his anger towards religious fanatics. “Wargasm” ranges in shades of tone, riding on electric waves that go from sinister to somber. The chorus, while brief, adds an ironic, melancholic brightness to the material. “Game Over” approaches its subject matter with the use of metallic industrial sounds, presenting a dark and hypnotic atmosphere.
When stacked up against the rest of the Ministry discography, AmeriKKKant makes its case as a stong addition to the catalog. While not as hard-hitting as past works, AmeriKKKant still embodies Ministry’s take on metal and industrial music. The band keeps each song interesting and fresh, mixing different forms of electronic music into mechanized madness. The record also uses these qualities to boost the emotion and commentary it shares in each track—a megaphone for Jourgenson's political commentary. It provides diverse song chemistry and in-your-face lyricism; Ministry paints a picture of the current horrors we face.