A friend of Ministry mastermind Al Jourgensen recently suggested that Jourgensen only tours during Gulf Wars. It's not a theory that Jourgensen necessarily accepts, but there's little doubt that the presence of a Bush in the White House tends to stir up the native anger and aggression of this industrial-rock pioneer.
You can hear it all over Ministry's latest release, Houses of the Molé, which goes out of its way to incorporate "w" into its song titles: "Wrong," "Waiting," "Worm," "Walrus," and "No 'W.'" You can read it in interviews, with Jourgensen describing the Bush administration as "the most corrupt oligarchy ever to run this country."
After a tentative early stretch of forgettable synth-pop, Jourgensen toughened up with 1988's The Land of Rape and Honey, bringing raucous guitars into the equation and, with the aural firebomb "Stigmata," taking industrial music to the masses. For better or worse, he also made the world safe for Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and Prodigy.
Jourgensen reached his peak in 1992 with Psalm 69, whose relentless single "N.W.O." featured a soundbyte hook of George H.W. Bush calling for a "new world order." On subsequent albums like 1999's Dark Side of the Spoon, however, he showed that his obsession with picking at our cultural scabs remained undiminished.
For all the emotional blood-letting in Ministry's work, however, Jourgensen's chief appeal remains as a sonic architect rather than an expressive artist. Like his most accomplished protege, Trent Reznor, Jourgensen wears you down with his nihilism because you don't ever sense that he's looking for a way out of it. But election years have a way of focusing his vitriol. Suffice it to say he won't be invited to the inaugural festivities if Bush gets re-elected. •
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