Ministry - AmeriKKKant (Album Review)

Alec Chillingworth 12 March 2018

[Insert witty jibe about Ministry saying they’d break up, only to return a few years later.] Great, now that’s out of the way we can start talking about album 14 from Al Jourgensen’s industrial institution, ‘AmeriKKKant’. Its title, a play on words relating to the state of affairs in the US right now, has been lovingly nicked from Ice Cube’s classic ‘AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted’. There’s a 28 year gap between those two records, yet the joke still lands.

Over the course of these nine tracks, Jourgensen hits more than he misses. Reviving influences from his ‘90s output, the album mostly stomps along like Godflesh on downers at a party they weren’t invited to. Sluggish industrial metal is very much the drink of choice.src=

As much as Jourgensen pretends he didn’t make ‘Filth Pig’, its spectre looms large.That album traded in repetitive, miserable slabs of metal that’ll make you shit your heart out, and you can hear the same on Twilight Zone, where Donald Trump samples are interspersed between Jourgensen’s unmistakeable, iconic roars.  

It’s not all bad news, though. Well actually, it is, but Jourgensen at least has the decency to dress it up. We’re Tired Of It is a proper Ministry thrash banger, one that’d sit comfortably on their classic ‘Psalm 69’ LP.

Fans bemoan the band for turning into ‘Slayerstry’ (poor portmanteau game) but they’ve always had that thrash thing in the pocket,  from 1989's ‘The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste’ onwards.

And fair play to Ministry for trying new stuff, too. ‘From Beer To Eternity’ was supposed to be their second – or third? – curtain call five years ago, and they dialled up the dub. It wasn’t what was expected of a heritage metal act bowing out. And, this time, the band get cinematic with album bookends I Know Words and AmeriKKKa. The former’s a Trump-drenched, ‘Ugh, this is America’ intro full of strings, while the latter serves as a bonged-out, ‘Ah well, we’re fucked’ finale with a cheap-as-chips horn section to boot.

But nothing can excuse the extraneous DJ contributions. Their random scratches make no sense. Ministry have never shunned hip hop – listen to Test from ‘The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste’ – but here that influence just sounds out of place. Excessive. Shoehorned in. It’s a shame, especially seeing as this nails-on-chalkboard approach is actually absent from the record’s most stereotypical ‘00s Ministry by numbers’ cuts, Antifa and Wargasm.

‘AmeriKKKant’ might not be a Trump-obsessed attack similar to the one Jourgensen pulled on George W. Bush – across three albums, no less – but it’s still got teeth. It crushes when it wants to, especially on Victim of a Clown’s final few seconds, which are essentially a grindcore outro.

This is a Ministry album. It’s buzzsaw guitars, loads of samples, streams of shouting and beats to bang your head to. It’s not the hyperactive metal that Jourgensen unleashed a few years ago with his side project, Surgical Meth Machine, but it’s still an album harbouring loads of songs you’d want to hear live. The fact that it comes out so strong, even taking the turntables into account, is testament to Uncle Al’s songwriting nous.

Ministry Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue July 17 2018 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Wed July 18 2018 - GLASGOW O2 ABC
Fri July 20 2018 - MANCHESTER Albert Hall
Sat July 21 2018 - LONDON O2 Forum Kentish Town
Mon July 23 2018 - BELFAST Limelight
Tue July 24 2018 - DUBLIN Tivoli Theatre
Wed July 25 2018 - BRISTOL SWX

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