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Ministry - Greatest Fits Print E-mail
Tuesday, 19 June 2001
Greatest Fits,
Warner Bros. Records, 2001
| Performance 8 | Sound 6.5 |

ImageBefore the days of Rob Zombie, before the days of seven-string guitar bands with screamer vocalists like Korn, it was the heyday for a badass little industrial band named Ministry. Led by evil frontman extraodinaire Al Jorgensen, Ministry is about the best example of an industrial metal band out there. With scorching guitar sounds, breakneck beats, insane programming and politically-charged vocals, Ministry is one of those bands that can make you do things you never planned on simply through the awe-inspiring power of their death rock.

While Ministry’s albums are certainly worthy of attention, with compelling titles such as A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste and Filth Pig, this Greatest Hits collection assembles the highlights of a dubious career on one CD. The collection really picks up with the tune "Thieves," which has the most machine-gun-like guitar riff I have ever heard, coupled with strange programmed mechanical sounds and hard-hitting drumbeats. Midway through the cut, it breaks down to a musically sparse moment featuring some news commentary, seemingly recorded from television, and then explodes into a 180 beat per minute thrash-fest that is specifically designed to start a mosh pit anywhere, anytime.

The version of "So What" on the album is live, which is a good decision for the Greatest Fits record. Ministry live is one hell of a show. Mob psychology rules in a somewhat controlled riot scenario. When the tune kicks into its main riff, it rains down walls of tightly distorted guitars and pounding bass. The power of the music is legendary. Ministry says "So What," and who are you to argue?

"N.W.O. (New World Order)" is Ministry at its most poppy. The samples of George Bush (the one who actually won his election) speaking of his global strategy makes a mockery of U.S. politics. The primal vocals are hard to even decipher, but the military yips recorded on each beat make for a mindless track that literally draws you in. The double bass drum work on "N.W.O." is insane as those slams that were all the rage back in the late 1980s.

Tying in poetry with speed metal makes for the basis of "Jesus Built My Hot Rod," Ministry’s finest tune to date. With lyrics like "Ding A Ling Dang, My Dang Along Ling Long," you just have to respect Ministry for their Lennon-McCartney-esque song writing. Or you don’t. But you have to appreciate the vocals seemingly sung through a megaphone and the drummer jacked out of his mind with beats that won’t quit. "Jesus Built My Hotrod" shows a funnier side of this hardcore act.

While death rock is all the rage in post-Metallica rock ‘n’ roll, Ministry was breaking ground in this category more than a decade ago. With an intensity that can not be denied and an archive of well-crafted songs, following a successful and groundbreaking format, Ministry is among the best of the genre and worthy of a listen if you need something more-than-loud or if you are trying to insight a few thousand people into a bit of civil unrest.

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