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Ministry – AmeriKKKant

Nuclear Blast

Ministry - AmeriKKKantWhen Donald Trump was inexplicably elected to be the forty-fifth president of the United States of America, social media was abuzz with people making trite comments about “ah well, at least we’ll get some great art out of it”, as if that was really what we should be worrying about. That said, though, there is one exception — the quality of Ministry albums has always depended on who’s currently in the White House. The first Bush gave us The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste and the awesome, career-defining Psalm 69. Clinton did them no favours at all, but Bush Jr produced (well, not actually “produced”) Rio Grande Blood and The Last Sucker.

So I was optimistic about this one — can Al Jourgensen and the lads Make America Mosh Again? AmeriKKKant may clumsily force two plays on words into four syllables, but it does rock. It’s Ministry at their biggest, vast spacious production filled to the brim with bone-crunching Melvins riffs and Al’s angry yelling. Although it has a surprising amount of quieter moments, too, which are usually then bulldozed over with riffage and noise. Quasi-classical interludes lend the whole thing a much more epic feel than some of their previous work, giving them an almost Foetus-like range.

Of course, there are the traditional cut-ups and samples, with most, of course, coming from the mouth of the Orange One himself. It’s heavier, doomier and for the most part slower than we’ve come to expect from Ministry, though it’s not scared of getting down to some proper shitkicking when the mood takes it, the single “Antifa” being a notable example of that. You can almost hear Richard Spencer getting punched in the face with every beat of the snare, which is always a nice visual image.

It may not be the actual best album they’ve ever recorded, but it’s a welcome return to form, and it’s astounding that they can still kick it like this after so many years, especially given the tragic death of guitarist Mike Scaccia. And while it may not be revolutionary musically, it’s definitely music for revolutionaries. Preferably revolutionaries driving giant mechs, because Ministry are always at their best when they sound like they’re actually big fuck-off war robots. And nowhere do they sound more like big fuck-off war robots than on “Game Over”, a dense, rhythmic grind that reminds us once again of just how much influence Killing Joke had on industrial rock.

It’s that combination of shiny chrome production and ugly, sludgy riffs that’s always been Ministry’s best trick, and it’s evident here in spades. AmeriKKKant is definitely the Ministry album we need right now, and unless we get wiped out before they get the chance, here’s hoping they continue to mine the epic seam of dystopia that’s running through the decade.

-Justin Farrington-

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