Al Jourgensen is quite a remarkable character. He’s widely seen as one of the pioneers of the whole industrial metal movement. He had his streak of mainstream success only to sink down in years of substance abuse. The past ten years he managed to get his life back in order again, released some high quality records with Ministry and he embarked on a couple of different side projects, including Revolting Cocks and Buck Satan. Al disbanded his main band back in 2008, however this year he suddenly returns to the stage with a brand-new Ministry album, entitled “Relapse”.
The last three Ministry albums were collectively fuelled by Al’s hatred against former president Bush and his henchmen. On “Relapse” he takes a very vocal stand against the arrogance of high-end managers (“Ghouldiggers”), the bonus culture at major banks (“Kleptocracy”) and he shows his support for the Occupy Movement (“99 Percenters”). There doesn’t need to be a Bush in the White House to get Al Jourgensen going.
Musically, “Relapse” contains some of the finest musical moments in Ministry’s extenstive discography. Tracks like “Ghouldiggers”, “Double Tap”, “Kleptocracy” and “99 Percenters” can easily hold their own against any Ministry classic, such as “No W”, “Gangreen”, “Jesus Built My Hotrod”, “N.W.O” and “Just One Fix”. There are some unsuspecting blues and country traces here and there and this really gives “Relapse” its distinctive flavour. Hardcore Ministry traditionalists may really dislike this, but as an outsider I savor these little moments of outside the box thinking.
What will happen next with Ministry is very hard to say. Al Jourgensen is a notoriously unpredictable figure and he is reluctant to put much time and energy in rejuvenating his band with all the bells and whistles that come along with it. If “Relapse” turns out to be the truly the last and final album for Ministry, uncle Al and Co. certainly leave the stage in style. Ending your career on a high note and stepping aside is something more bands should ponder about…(Metallica and Lou Reed anyone?!!)