Ministry – Rio Grande Blood

From the same mold as 2005s Houses of the Mole comes Ministrys 2006 release, Rio Grande Blood. Al Jourgensens attack against George W. Bush and the current administration begins on the albums cover, which features Bush crucified, wearing a crown of thorns and standing in an oil barrel with stealth bombers and oil pumps in the background. The disc, which features tracks such as Fear (Is Big Business), The Great Satan, Lieslieslies and Ass Clown, is an hour-long non-stop industrial assault on the United States Government. Oh, and yeah it rocks. Hard.

Rio Grande Blood kicks off with the discs title track, opening with a slyly-edited presidential speech which has Bush declaring Im a brutal dictator, and Im evil, Ive adopted sophisticated terrorist tactics and even Im an asshole. The albums theme is united. Lieslieslies begins with a sample stating we have called you together to inform you that we are going to overthrow the United States government. Do you still think that jet fuel brought down the World Trade Center? In the rock-and-roll anthem The Great Satan, Jourgensen shouts bringing down the USA is what its all about. And on the discs last official track, Khyber Pass, the band wonders if Bin Laden isnt hiding out at Bushs Ranch.

But Jourgensens hate of the White House isnt the only thing back. Ministrys intensity is back as well. While Houses of the Mole was good, Rio Grande Blood is great. Those who claimed the bands best days were behind them with the departure of Paul Barker may have to rethink their stance as Grande is, in fact, quite grand. Jourgensens drum lines are as brutal as theyve been in a decade, harkening back not only to the Psalm 69 days, reminding me of Nailbomb at points. Tommy Victor (Guitar, Danzig/Prong) and Paul Raven (Bass, Killing Joke/Prong) bring the human element into Jourgensens synthetic backbone. Victors fretwork is particularly vicious, mixing Prongish hooks with Slayeresque-inspired riffs. Joey Jordison (Drums, Slipknot) will be joining the band live for their 2006 MasterBaTour. Theyll definitely need his kick drum skills to pull off any of these songs live.

Most of the songs are great but not all of them. Khyber Pass drags on with introductory Eastern Indian vocals that take too long to ramp up, and the somewhat silly Marine tribute Gangreen gets old after repeated listenings with its military ahoorah grunts and taunts from a marine seargant whos gonna stick his dick in your nose, among other things its a shame, as musically the track grooves.

Ministrys wall of sound never sounded thicker, and the limits of your speakers will be pushed by the albums hot mix. Rio Grande Blood throws out tons of low end matched by crashing cymbals and industrial noise guaranteed to give your system a workout. Jourgensens vocals are as distorted as ever, filling out the mix with static screams.

Musically, Rio Grande Blood is Ministrys finest work in a decade, maybe longer. Jourgensen has continually tweaked his bands sound, and for fans of Industrial Metal Rio Grande Blood is damn near sonically perfect. Lyrically, Ministrys campaign against the establishment continues. Assuming the band manages to win more fans than they alienate with their strong opinions, Rio Grande Blood may stand as one of the bands greatest works to date.

01. Rio Grande Blood
02. Senor Peligro
03. Gangreen
04. Fear (Is Big Business)
05. Lies Lies Lies
06. The Great Satan
07. Yellow Cake
08. Palestina
09. Ass Clown
10. Khyber Pass

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