After twenty-five years of cranking out electronic, industrial, and full on metal, Ministry’s Al Jourgensen is ready to hang up his hat. The Last Sucker, Ministry’s final opus, also concludes the band’s anti-George Bush trilogy.
Ministry’s sound has changed greatly throughout the years, and their last three albums have been three of their heaviest. Ministry’s 2004 album Houses of the Mole’ launched an all out attack against George W. Bush and his administration. 2006’s Rio Grande Blood continued the band’s direction both sonically and verbally, continuing the band’s attack on the US government, military, oil, and Haliburton. The Last Supper once again continues the battle, spewing one final collective venemous assault toward President Bush.
Those who own the band’s previous two albums won’t find much new lyrical ground covered here. Jourgensen makes his opinion of the war in Iraq, the government, and the military in general very clear throughout most of the album. Both Dick Cheney and George Bush have songs dedicated to them (“The Dick Song” and “The Last Sucker,” respectively). For the first time in Ministry’s anti-war trilogy, the band has included a cover tune. The Doors’ Roadhouse Blues seems out of place until you hear the first verse (“Ill tell you this man, all I wanna do is have my kicks before this whole shit house goes up in flames.”) The culmination of the band’s trilogy ends with two tracks, End of Days Part One and Two. “It is the end of days/We’ve clearly lost our way,” laments Jourgensen in Part One. In Part Two, he continues: “I disregard those who govern me/I hate all of this treachery/I numb my mind and try to walk away/Toward the trail of tears and to the end of days.”
Sonically the band has continued its direction as well. Both Tommy Victor and Paul Raven of Prong have returned to unleash a fury of metal over Jourgensen’s industrially-programmed drum tracks. Also joining the festivities this time are Sin Quirin (Revolting Cocks) on guitar, John Bechdel (Fear Factory/Prong/Killing Joke) on keyboards, and Jimmy DeGrasso (Suicidal Tendencies/Alice Cooper/Megadeth) on drums. Burton C. Bell (Fear Factory) also makes a guest appearance on three tracks. Ministry’s last two albums have been two of the heaviest of their career, and The Last Sucker continues their combination of metal riffs with aggressive drumming.
The Last Sucker is consistant with the band’s previous two albums; unfortunately, that also means there’s not much new here. Ministry’s swan song will most likely be remembered as a good album, but not the band’s definitive work.