Well, well — Al Jourgensen has come out of hiding and cobbled together a formation of Ministry for a record. This time around, Al and group have latched onto the latest national surge of anger, as they seem to frequently do, and put out a collection based on the Occupy movement and the problem of corporate greed. And they do it loud and distorted. But it feels as though they rushed this out in order to get it into your ears before the heat of the topic fades from the 24-hour news networks…because it sounds dumb and tired.
For the most part, Relapse is a typical raging Ministry album. It smokes all the meth at the party and jacks your heart rate up ten-fold with industrial-metal chuggings and beats, and when each song ends, the album immediately hits the pipe hard for the next tune. One slower tune, “Bloodlust,” is thrown into the mix, and then it’s more crank-metal.
The theme is, of course, greed, and right out of the gate, Al comes of silly and disconnected. The spoken intro features Al behind the pulpit, getting preacherly about corporate bullshit (fine) and how his managers won’t return his phone calls (come on now, really?). The music is a juggernaut — it’s the lyrics that, for the most part, come off as being soft. I get what he’s after and what he’s trying to get across, but it doesn’t work.
“99 Percenters” bellows it’s rallying cheer against those who oppress the Occupiers, complete with the corny line, “The 99 percenters will not be beat!” — a fall-flat, high school pep rally cheer for the anti-corporate masses.
The album hits a high point with a solid cover of the SOD tune “United Forces,” and then the title track reverses the bonding, communal “I’m with you people” vibe and pisses on all y’all with lyrics about waiting for the forthcoming apocalypse, passing time fucked up (“Well I love life to death/But I also love crystal meth”) and giving you, the listener, the finger (“Well I’m filthy rich and I’m horny/But you just fucking bore me…I’ll see you all in hell”). Then we’re treated to the party douche mentality with “Weekend Warrior.” The tune “Get Up, Get Out And Vote” sounds lost and feeble, wandering around looking for an audience. The final cut, a remix of “Relapse,” is fertilizer. Weak on the words, gradually weakening through the course of the album, you expect and start with one decent thing, and get nothing but shit by the end.
The album is called Relapse because after being on the corporate record wagon, Ministry has fallen off and is back to dealing with the record biz and all its shitty side effects. Perhaps they should look into a longer, extended stay in rehab.
(13th Planet Records, C/O TurnUp Group, 3005 S. Lamar Blvd., Ste. D109 #345, Austin, TX 78704)