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Ministry - Animositisomina Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 November 2005


format: DualDisc
label: Silverline
release year: 2004
performance: 4.0
sound 8.0
reviewed by: Paul Lingas

Image Ministry gives us Animositisomina, which continues pretty much right along where you thought Ministry was headed. Using guttural vocals and pounding guitars with cold-cocked hooks, the self-proclaimed forefathers of industrial metal, Paul Barker and Al Jourgensen, have continued here to try to capitalize on their reputation for musical and technological fury. While Ministry clearly have their place in the industrial metal post New Wave pantheon, their music remains largely inaccessible to large audiences and sounds to a great extent like something produced by crazy people who raided a poorly-stocked music store.

“Animosity” exhibits that very same sentiment towards the senses. This is complete and unadulterated thrashing and demonic shouting, perhaps the quintessential industrial track on the album, with its heavy, distorted and pulsing bass, frizzy-sounding percussion and some tricked-out guitar hooks. Tracks like “Unsung” and “Piss” seem to have prophetically self-reflexive titles. There is this weird fluttering going on underneath everything that makes it sound as if your CD or DVD player is freaking out. This is part of the technological abuse they throw at you, but here it sounds less cool and more annoying. This type of musical ticking is a favorite of Ministry, but it is too constant throughout the album to make it seem as unique or effective as it used to.

The problem with most of the tracks is that they all sound the same. When using guttural vocals and what feels like the same guitar mix (even though it isn’t) all the time, a sense of anxious boredom sets in. It certainly seems to be a genre of music with a small threshold for enjoyment and variety. This is not to suggest that Jourgensen and Barker lack consistency, it’s simply that with this type of music, with its narrow dynamic and acoustical range, the area for variety is limited. There are very few high-register sounds and the resulting bass-heavy guitars, percussion and vocals tend to blend together in such a way that they cancel each other out. This perhaps doesn’t literally happen in a technical sense of competing and canceling sound waves, but the human ear can only easily and pleasantly discern so many versions of the same noise. It’s like being in a crowd of people who all have nearly the same pitched voice; even though there are variations, they are too close together to make anything more than white noise easily discernable to the ear. To do otherwise is hard work, and listening to music, even complicated, multilayered music, should not be hard work. Then it ceases to be music and instead becomes noise.

“Broken” uses some less obnoxious vocals and has some tongue in cheek lyrics, but overall it sounds like the Cyberdine Systems Model 101 from “The Terminator” produced it. “The Light Pours Out of Me” is more of a conventional-sounding track, starting with a rapid snare, which is then mimicked by a funky bass and soon joined by a pleasant little guitar hook. A trippy guitar riff breaks things up in the middle before everything slides back into place. All of the usual gadgetry sounds carry on underneath and they mostly here give the feeling that this is a poor recording.

The DVD-Audio portion included on the flip side of this dual CD/DVD sounds amazing in terms of technical reproduction, but the music is so transparently industrial that it almost begs to be dipped in a vat of toxic waste and splattered all over a speeding car, like Paul McCrane’s character Emil in “Robocop.” There are a few tasty bits of tracks but in general, the sounds of Jourgensen and Barker are guttural and too bass-heavy for mass consumption.

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