Ministry - AmeriKKKant review



Reviewer:
5.3

62 users:
5.34
Band: Ministry
Album: AmeriKKKant
Release date: March 2018


01. I Know Words
02. Twilight Zone
03. Victims Of A Clown
04. TV5/4Chan
05. We're Tired Of It
06. Wargasm
07. Antifa
08. Game Over
09. AmeriKKKa


Missing an open goal.

For a band that rallied so hard against George W. Bush and created some of the most scathing ripostes to that administration, you better bet my interest was piqued when it was announced Ministry were releasing a record in the era of the presidency of Donald Trump. It was a big disappointment then that what we ended up with was AmeriKKKant. With such a wealth of inspiration and emotion to fuel this record, you would be forgiven for thinking this record could help jumpstart a recovery for Ministry[/band] after a series of good but not great records; well, what you have here is the engine cutting out and spewing out black smoke. Jesus may have built the hotrod but he certainly isn't helping to maintain it.

To address the elephant in the room first, i.e. the political element of the album, [i]AmeriKKKant
summarizes the main problem that many left-leaning bands have faced in the wake of Trump, that being, they have such a wealth of issues that they're overwhelmed by them and the music takes a backseat to the message. Rather than crafting a song with a message in it, Ministry craft a song around a message; even then the message is poorly made or thrown out there such that it comes off as a rant rather than a call to arms. Take "I Know Words" for example; it's clear Ministry want to take aim straight out of the gates, but how is it interesting? It even bleeds over into the start of "Twilight Zone"; I get the band wanted to rail against what they see is wrong, but through their anger they are blinded to the quality of the music.

This is the key problem with the album; whereas to a degree you can compensate for bad lyrics with good music, AmeriKKKant fails on both fronts, offering little in the way of anything interesting or complementary to the lyrics. Where the band usually excel in melding soundscapes with hard-hitting rhythms and riffs, both are in short supply, and you're left floating between sections of dead space, waiting for something interesting to come that either arrives late or never at all. "Victims Of A Clown" is a good example of this; the soundscape created by the keyboards and samples are ok at best, but with little variation over the eight-minute(!) span of the song, you tune out mentally long before the song even starts to come to a close.

"We're Tired Of It" does shake you out of the malaise somewhat, its thrashy guitar riff and hard-hitting drums serving as a wake up after the middling pace the album had set for itself at the start. The song is one of the stronger tracks, if only because it keeps your interest, whereas the same can't be said for the rest of the album. It is the inverse for much of Ministry's back catalogue for me, usually I prefer the mid-paced work over their faster stuff as the faster stuff is more generic, but here it is the opposite.

It would be easy to attribute this lack of quality to being the first album with no involvement from Scaccia (R.I.P.), whose work was utilized posthumously on From Beer To Eternity, but that would be to overlook the real flaws on the album. I'm sure Scaccia could have certainly made much of the music more bearable with some memorable guitar work and perhaps helped trim down some of the excesses here and there, but I doubt he alone could have averted what this record became. Scaccia wouldn't improve Jourgensen's weakening vocals, sounding like a shell of their former glory, which is hard to overlook, especially on tracks like "AmeriKKKA". Hell, Quirin is still a part of the band but plays nothing that really elevates itself beyond being another element in the mix; it's only on "AmeriKKKA" that he gets close to playing anything really interesting, the main riff is enjoyable but is pushed into the background in favour of bland turntable scratching, as if to compound the problem.

I really wanted to enjoy AmeriKKKant, as it seemed like the perfect storm for fans of Ministry; Jourgensen had a source of inspiration that wasn't going to cloud his vision when he overindulged in them and he had a purpose that seemed to have eluded him since the band's reunion. To end up with what we got was a big disappointment and has to rank among the band's worst work easily. What could have been so good turned out so wrong; the cover art sums it up perfectly.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 4
Songwriting: 4
Originality: 5
Production: 7

Written by omne metallum | 04.09.2020


 


Comments

Comments: 3   Visited by: 9 users
04.09.2020 - 20:36
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
No matter your stance on American politics, the political spectrum, or Donald Trump as a person, businessman, or president, one thing that has the ability to unite us all is how bad this album is.
----
I have no memory of this place.
Loading...
05.09.2020 - 09:11
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
I saw Ministry live last year and they played this in full. Was expecting to hate it but somehow the atmosphere made it sound really heavy and sludgy. I was thinking to myself maybe that album really isn't that bad. Afterwards I went and listened to the album again and it was still just as bad as I remembered. How the hell can the same music sound fantastic live and shitty in the studio. So maybe that 7 for production is too high.
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
Loading...
11.09.2020 - 16:45
omne metallum
Written by RaduP on 05.09.2020 at 09:11

I saw Ministry live last year and they played this in full. Was expecting to hate it but somehow the atmosphere made it sound really heavy and sludgy. I was thinking to myself maybe that album really isn't that bad. Afterwards I went and listened to the album again and it was still just as bad as I remembered. How the hell can the same music sound fantastic live and shitty in the studio. So maybe that 7 for production is too high.


The album sounds fine, I can't fault it much for that. Perhaps it is because it amplifies and highlights just how boring it is that makes it feel so bad on record?
Loading...

Hits total: 294 | This month: 294