Before anything else is said this album needs to be played loud and I mean fucking LOUD!
Big Al was supposed to have killed off Ministry. Apparently 'The Last Sucker' was going to be the band's final album. Well, big Al lied and like any other addict, he's back for more except this time he's really fucking angry.
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Not that he has been quiet during the last four years, oh no. Al Jourgensen certainly knows how to keep busy as 'Relapse' makes it three albums in the last year alone. Not content with putting out stuff with the Triple Six Shooters and Revco, he's now gone and put Ministry back together again, calling in co-conspirators Mike Scaccia (Rigor Mortis), Tony Campos (Static X), Tommy Victor (Prong) and Casey Orr (Rigor Mortis/Gwar) to help him create this, Ministry's twelfth album.
With the demise of Bush era politics effectively removing his muse, Jourgensen has stowed most of his political displeasure and vented his spleen instead at Wall Street, record labels, managers and drug abuse (about which he knows quite a bit). This man has a lot to say and even if it means turning on himself, Al just cannot seem to stop.
'Relapse' is possibly the heaviest and fastest album Ministry have done. With none of the tracks dropping below fourth gear, the whole thing is a noisy full tilt industrial Metal ram raid on your ears. It flirts occasionally with thrash but retains the precision of its industrial roots and the vocal is an unrelenting, almost primeval roar that never degenerates into the incoherence of death grunts.
'United Forces' (a Stormtroopers Of Death cover), 'Double Tap', 'Weekend Warrior', 'Get Up Get Out n' Vote' and 'Freefall' clatter along trying to keep up with Al's angry velocity but you could dip into this album at any point and immediately strike gold and get promptly swept away on its vitriol. It is a fifty minute killer that is hard to pick fault with and even if you were to try, it would probably clamber off the decks and kick your damn head in.
There are bits of 'Relapse' that will have you wondering if Jourgensen is not some sort of metaphorical flagellant using parody as his whip or just a very angry guy who will kick at himself for the want of other prey. You can never be quite sure because the only predictable thing about the minds of such obviously intelligent drug addled genii is their unpredictability.
To Many, 'Relapse' will just be another noisy Heavy Metal album made by a bunch of aging agit rockers, yet there will be many more who will find the hidden subtleties inside its Metal broadsides absorbing. You will just have to figure it out yourself.
Whichever view you take, just slap this excellent little beast on your death decks, turn your hearing aid off, crank the fucker right up and join Ministry in a superb fifty minute dose of high end Heavy Metal that will really fuck your neighbours off.