Released: 2004, Sanctuary Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
With all the controversy surrounding the war in Iraq, George W. Bush’s motivations behind it and the impending U.S. election, what better time than the present for a new CD from Ministry. One thing Al Jourgensen has never been afraid of is stirring the proverbial pot and he wields a mighty large spoon on Ministry’s latest CD, HOUSES OF THE MOLE. The CD is a direct stab at President Bush with sound bytes from various speeches peppered throughout the songs. Jourgensen’s own disdain for the Bush government echoes through the lyrics and song titles such as “World” and “Wrong,” however, the greatest lash against Bush occurs in “No W,” as in “no George W. Bush.” It’s time for the FBI to crack open their files on Jourgensen once again because with HOUSES OF THE MOLE, he’s set himself up to become Public Enemy #1 once again.
Having lost long-time collaborator Paul Barker after last year’s ANIMOSITISOMINA, Jourgensen has enlisted a full band for the first time in the band’s twenty year career. Joining him are new guitarists Mike Scaccia (Rigor Mortis) and Brian Kehoe (Jerry Cantrell), bassist John Monte (M.O.D., Mindfunk), keyboardist Darryl James and drummer Mark Baker. This “real” band gives HOUSES OF THE MOLE a fuller sound than the usual industrial samplings of past records. In fact, HOUSES OF THE MOLE is Ministry’s most inspired album since their landmark 1992 CD, PSALM 69, which ironically skewered George Bush Sr..
“No W” gets the party started with a sample of “Carmina Burana,” that Jourgensen has run through his wall of guitars and noise and stuck a few Bush bytes in for good measure to solidify his lyrical point.
Ask me why you're feeling screwed
And I'll give you the answer
There's a Colon Dick & Bush
Justa hammerin' away
Not exactly subtle but this is exactly the kind of thing that keeps Ministry interesting. The machine gun drumming in “Waiting” is just as good if not better than what Barker provided and this song, along with its follow-up, “Worthless”, prove that Jourgensen can write a catchy melody with the best of them. Powerful drums are also at the forefront of “Wrong,” which contains a killer bass line and searing vocal from Jourgensen. “Warp City” and “WTV” are blazingly fast and their darkly humorous lyrics prove that Ministry shows no sign of slowing down. “Worm” is a testament to the diversity of Ministry with its sampled harmonica, lush vocals and nine minute length. Jourgensen has always dabbled in taboo subjects but his exploration of suicide on this track is quite haunting. Stay tuned after “Worm” for two hidden tracks: “Psalm 32” and “Walrus.” The first is a different version of “No W,” while the second is a variation of “Worm.”
Twenty years on and Ministry is still delivering heavy, in-your-face material that gets certain folks all riled up. Along with Michael Moore, Al Jourgensen could very well be the most dangerous man in America. Spewing vitriolic diatribes against the most powerful man in the free world won’t win you any friends but if it gets people talking, it’s a small sacrifice to make. With Ministry down an original member, Al Jourgensen has vowed to carry on and get people asking questions of the government and on HOUSES OF THE MOLE, it is the best the band has sounded since their last stab at the White House twelve years ago.
KILLER KUTS: “No W,” “Waiting,” “Worthless,” “Warp City,” “Worm”