MINISTRY // SWG3: TV STUDIO, GLASGOW
Ministry’s industrial noise assault showcases their pioneering approach to metal
Ministry have wide ranging influence on contemporary music their noise rock experiments have informed metal, industrial and synth pop. At SWG3 the always fiercely political Ministry play their old classics songs and their most recent album.
Before Ministry take to the stage, we are treated to a support slot from 3Teeth. Playing songs from the soon to be released Metawar. With it’s treated vocals and experimental keyboards buried underneath layers of industrial metal it is an album the crowd will certainly want to check out after this support slot.
A distinctive distorted clatter interrupts cut up speeches of Donald Trump and Ministry begin. Firstly, they play songs from AmeriKKKant, their 2018 release. The immediacy of the groove on the opening Twilight Zone gets the audience attention straight away. With guitar histrionics backed up by equally far out sounding keyboards. Further illustrating the powerful sounding of the band is the crushing all conquering riffing of We're Tired of It. Creating an impression of terror and hopelessness that perfectly convers fury with modern American politics. This is followed by songs entitled Wargasm and Antifa, continuing this narrative but less effective musically.
The dissatisfaction with the current American regime is a recurring motif of AmeriKKKant Live, this is further highlighted by the continuing mix of cut up Trump speeches and industrial distortion. Though sounding obvious it rather effectively adds vitality to the show. While the way Al Jorgenson moves across the stage suggest political polemical may now be his lifeblood.
However, AmirKKKant was not the band’s strongest record and the atmosphere does lull with the limp Game Over. Also, the lifeless and overlong Victims of a Clown seem to suggest that they have gone full circle from cutting edge influencers over metal and now infected by the worst kind of plodding thrash.
After a brief break Ministry begin their classic set. Al Jorgenson, the leader and main man thanks the audience for their patience while playing the new album and comments upon his love for the wild people of Glasgow. The crowd predictably love this and respond with avid moshing for The Missing. Its heart stopping drum beat and the call and response vocals in amongst the thrashing is a fantastic breathless rendition. Clearly a big inspiration on a certain Trent Reznor, as the relentless tempo calls to mind the Nine Inch Nails classic March of the Pigs.
The intensity of the gig continues to rise, as more older classics are dropped. With the stomping Deity followed by masterfully distorted vocals of Stigmata meeting machine gun drumming. The manic Jesus Built my Hot Rod brings about full scale chaos in the crowd as a man dressed in Jesus and brandishing a cardboard spanner gets right in the action, promoting wide smiles from the band and the security.
The band play their best song Just One Fix, a former heroin addict perfectly encapsulating desperation. Then, they finish the set with a cover of Al Jorgenson’s side project Throbbing Cocks, No Devotion the hypnotic guitars hint at psychedelic and though the blasphemous lyrics provide the link to Ministry. It is a low key but excellent end.
Ministry show tonight that the songs that depict their reach and influence on modern metal will always be timeless. However, their new material was not always engaging.