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Ministry - Moral Hygiene review


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Band: Ministry
Album: Moral Hygiene
Release date: October 2021

01. Alert Level
02. Good Trouble
03. Sabotage Is Sex
04. Disinformation
05. Search And Destroy [The Stooges cover]
06. Believe Me
07. Broken System
08. We Shall Resist
09. Death Toll
10. TV Song #6 (Right Around The Corner Mix)

Always remember to wash behind your ears, people.

My expectations were mixed for Moral Hygiene following the car crash that was AmeriKKKant and the pre-album release of The Stooges cover “Search And Destroy”, the latter of which does the original a massive disservice, turning it from an angsty raw punk track to a slow dirge for absolutely zero benefit. This pessimism was tempered by the inclusion of last year’s “Alert Level”, which offered hope that Ministry would rebound and hit a high that they hadn’t reached in awhile. Coming out of listening to the album, those initial worries were erased and replaced with optimism and enjoyment in a way that a new Ministry album hasn’t in years.

Once Moral Hygiene was up and running, I came to realize this was one of Ministry’s best efforts in years, an album that manages to wash away the sour taste and makes you realize that the band’s best days need not necessarily be behind them. Jourgensen still clearly has Trump in his crosshairs, but he does not rush and stumble over himself like he did on AmeriKKKant to criticise him regardless of the musical content. While much of the album are shots across the bow, they correct the prior misbalance with tracks like “Disinformation” and “Believe Me”, which manage to be solid tracks while conveying the message Jourgensen clearly wants to get across.

“Sabotage Is Sex” has more energy and passion in one track than a good chunk of the band’s more recent output put together, with the inclusion of Jello Biafra adding an extra unhinged element to the song (which, alongside Jourgensen, ticks the crazy quota box so hard it tears through the paper). Coupled with the closing “TV Song (Right Around The Corner)”, you have two tracks that blast out of the speakers and hurl themselves at you as you wonder how it is physically possible. “Alert Level”, “Good Trouble” and “Broken System” offer that industrial flair that you want out of a Ministry record.

The album sounds vibrant and full of energy, with the production sounding crisp and expansive on tracks like “Believe Me”, which balances the band’s heavy side and their more danceable qualities in equal measure. Each element has a solid tone and manages to stand at the forefront of your ears without crowding each other out or knocking the mix off-kilter.

Moral Hygiene still has its flaws, but for the most part they are merely scratches on what is an upgrade in many other ways. The decision to have “We Shall Resist” and “Death Toll” follow each other derails the momentum of the album; rather than serving as the more spaced-out tracks they were intended to be, they feel like filler within the context of the album. The aforementioned “Search And Destroy” is the only egregious mistake, but does have the added bonus of making everything else sound so much better in comparison.

One of the few things in 2021 that doesn’t meet your expectations but for the right reason, exceeding them by a wide margin and making you eat humble pie as you realise how wrong you were: I’m sorry for doubting you Ministry, its been a fun comeuppance.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Written on 30.09.2021 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments: 5   Visited by: 113 users
30.09.2021 - 21:45
hi-fi / lo-life
Hmm all that I've heard so far is really lackluster for this band (I don't have access to the full album, just heard the songs currently available online). The biggest issue is that they seem to be going for an organic sound, which is just not what Ministry should ever be doing. Wonder if the whole album might change my mind.
01.10.2021 - 02:30
The Ancient One
Out of curiosity is that TV Song a throwback to the b-side that came with Jesus Built My Hot Rod? (as with Jupe, no access at present) .

get the fuck off my lawn.

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01.10.2021 - 10:43
With a lowercase c
Listening to the album right now. I wasn't even aware they had one coming out, that's how much I lost interest after Relapse.
Unlike you, I don't hear a lot of what I love about 90's and early 2000's Ministry. I'm mostly annoyed by mid-tempo songs all over the place, the same riffing I've heard endlessly on previous albums, and almost none of that organic lead guitar vs. quasi-mechanic riffs and drums interplay that made Houses Of The Molé and Rio Grande Blood such amazing albums.

I'm glad you found something to love in this album, but to me it's just more of the same. Definitely a little step up from their previous efforts but that was a very low bar to clear.
02.10.2021 - 21:58
hi-fi / lo-life
Heard the whole album now and it is indeed better than the majority of post-Barker and post-Victor Ministry but still doesn't live up to their 80s and 90s works.

One thing needs to be said though, this album has relatively great production, definitely the best since the Bush trilogy and often better.

@Bitter the TV songs have become kinda a series of similar songs so yeah, it's a throwback, but these songs have often been by far the best on the albums that they've been on.
05.10.2021 - 10:31

I've only really got Rio Grande Blood to compare it with, so that might be an unfair benchmark, but I found it fairly pedestrian. I haven't heard the last few, but given how bad the reaction to those has been, I could see this being an improvement on them. Still, the songs have neither the energy of a "Rio Grande Blood" or the groove of a mid-tempo cut like "Just One Fix", so it all feels a bit plodding without much to latch onto

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