|Ministry - Animositisomina|
|Music Disc Reviews DVD-Audio|
|Written by Bryan Dailey|
|Tuesday, 18 February 2003|
Sanctuary/Silverline Records, 2003
| Performance 7.5 | Sound 8 |
In stereo, Ministry’s industrial sound assaults your senses full force, but when the music surrounds you, it takes you directly inside the eye of the hurricane that rages on inside the mind of Ministry founding member and primary songwriter Al Jourgensen. Pioneers of the industrial music scene, Ministry generated a huge underground following in the mid-to-late ‘80s, gained a small amount of mainstream fame with their politically charged anti-George Bush, Sr. song “N.W.O. (New World Order). ” Ministry is furthering the world of industrial music with the release of their first studio-based surround sound DVA-Audio disc on Silverline records titled Animositisomina.
Repetitive to the point of being almost mind-numbing, Ministry’s music would be right at home in an S&M club. It clangs away in your head, long after the album is over, and leaves you as mentally exhausted as if you just did a million brain push-ups. Ministry has seen their fair share of musicians come and go, but the other mainstay of the group, Paul Barker, tells us in a small video clip included on this disc that they care more about pushing the limits of music and art than being financially successful. It’s this mentality that has kept Ministry from loosing their edge. In this DVD-Audio disc, one of the features is a brief bio of the band. They directly take credit for being responsible for the sound of many bands such as Rob Zombie, Nine Inch Nails, Static X and other techno-heavy metal bands that followed them. It’s a bit of a pompous statement, but when you analyze the sound of theses bands, there are many similarities in the way they mix, record and write songs that were surely influenced at least partially by Ministry. The distorted vocals, guitars that are so overly warped that they almost don’t sound like guitars and sequenced keyboard parts buried in the mix are all things pioneered by Ministry and heard in so many heavy albums today.
The opening track “Animosity” is pure vintage Ministry and sounds like it could have been included on any of their last four albums, but obviously it has a little different spin on it in surround sound. With hard left, right, front and rear panning during the intro, they don’t waste any time letting you know that you are hearing the album in 5.1 surround. If your main and surround speakers don’t blend well sonically, the effect will miss the mark, but with my Paradigm system, there was an audible illusion of a guitar amp spinning around the room.
On the song “Impossible,” a static effect is rapidly panned across the left, center and right front speakers so rapidly and for such a long duration that it became almost unnerving. Needless to say, you won’t be putting this track, or any of Animositisomina, on as background music for reading a novel or sipping a glass of wine. This is more the kind of album that confused teenagers will listen to while sitting in a dark room with only a few candles burning, some skulls on the wall and a strobe light randomly flashing.
All of the songs on Animositisomina seem to blend into a massive wall of sound, except for one track that sticks out like a sore thumb with its weak sound and goofy chorus. This is “The Light Pours Out Of Me,” which just simply doesn’t rock and, although it is possible to make a softer song on a techno album that is still intense (see NIN for some great examples), this song just misses the mark and feels like it was recorded for a different album. Al Jourgensen says on the bonus interview video on the disc that this album was very much about exorcising personal demons and this song may be about him coming through the darkness of drug abuse and other problems he faced in the past. The problem is that it just feels so out of place with the rest of the disc.
The reality is that when it comes to DVD-A software, it’s still pretty much slim pickings. If you are a supporter of the format and into very hard music, your choices are still pretty limited. Ministry’s Animositisomina will be a must-have, even though it’s not the most successful or groundbreaking album, it’s all they have on DVD-Audio for now, apart from their live album Shpinctour. I can’t imagine that a live Ministry concert mixed in surround sound would be as powerful as the sound that can be created in the controlled environment of a studio. Besides, if Ministry is your thing, I don’t think you are going to settle for a Linkin Park or Metallica disc to fill the void. Ministry’s hard-edged jagged sound will be too much to handle for those who aren’t full-fledged fans of industrial music. The mix on (album title) is a little lacking in the midrange, making many of the instruments and sounds a little on the thin side. For the full effect, you’ll want to bump the midrange up a tad, and don’t be shy with the subwoofer. It may anger the neighbors, but those who truly enjoy bands like Ministry don’t care about the neighbors, they just want to rock. And rock they do.