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‘HOPIUMFORTHEMASSES’ - looks like we all get the picture

By Dan Lima

Staff Writer


Throughout their 43-year-career span, Chicago’s Ministry have made quite a name for themselves in the music business. 


From their humble beginnings in the new wave movement to becoming one of the founding acts of the industrial metal subgenre, the six have formed one of the most innovative and influential groups of their time. They have influenced future artists with landmark releases such as 1988’s “The Land of Rape and Honey” and 1992’s “Psalm 69.”


The 2020s saw a new beginning for them with their 2021 album “Moral Hygiene,” receiving high praise as “a step in the right direction” in comparison with their outputs from the past decade - particularly, “AmeriKKKant” from 2018. 


Their latest release “HOPIUMFORTHEMASSES,” starts the month with their ongoing relentless tirade against the alt-right, internet trolls, and the powers that be with their destructive blend of crunchy guitars, flashing synthesizers, and warping samples.


While “Moral Hygiene” did leave an impression on me - mostly for its theme rather than its music - I wouldn’t rank it high on my list of favorite Ministry albums. 


That is not the case for “HOPIUMFORTHEMASSES,” however, as it builds upon and improves what was started in its predecessor with a little more variety sprinkled in.


Despite the rather poor lyricism and acknowledging the fact that the group is past their prime, I would give this album a pretty high score overall.


I would say this album is more worthy of being labeled as “their best since 2006’s ‘Rio Grande Blood’” than “Moral Hygiene” was. All thanks to its vicious attack of sharp guitar riffs, massive electronics, pulsating bass, powerful drumming, and frontman Al Jourgensen’s robotic shouts of protest against the corrupt with power, and the corrupt without power.


The opener “B.D.E” and leading single “Goddamn White Trash'' set the tone with their hammering catchiness and energy composed of synths and guitars paired with resentment toward right-wingers. 


That same intensity is cranked to 11 on the fun nonsense that is “TV Song 1/6 Edition” with its glitchy, sample-fueled, thrashy power.


There is still affinity for groove and danceability to be found. Some examples are the third track “Just Stop Oil,” a climate activist banger with a disco feel reminiscent of their 1989 single “Burning Inside,” and the track “It’s Not Pretty” which contains subtle brass and string additions to go along with its festive force.


The arena-rock sound on the album that Jourgensen teased back in 2021 is noticeable in tracks like “Aryan Embarrassment,” the former containing a feature from punk-rock ambassador Jello Biafra, and the anti-corporation anthem “New Religion.”


Both of these tracks contain a massive sound delivered by both the guitar/synth composition and production, resulting in a powerful and hard-hitting experience.


But there is more to this album than just loud, cranky heavy metal. “Cult Of Suffering” sees Gogol Bordello’s main man Eugene Hütz take over the microphone for this soulful anti-war tune with gracious backing vocals and smooth grooves akin to the classic “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” by War. 


The album closes with a modernized, guitar-driven cover of synth-pop classic “Ricky’s Hand” by Fab Gadget, which is a nice tribute to the band's origins.


Overall, I’d say Uncle Al and his friends have made quite the recovery from their musical fallout and it shows. “HOPIUMFORTHEMASSES” is about everything you could expect from Ministry - political preaching over barking guitars and punchy keys, creating the soundtrack to the hysteria running rampant across the world. Ironically, it feeds hope to their masses of fans that more quality music is set to release in the near future.


It’s not as good of an introduction to the band as their earlier outputs are, but anybody familiar with them, or the genre itself, is bound to be fueled and amazed by this addition to their catalog.


If “Moral Hygiene” was a step in the right direction, “HOPIUMFORTHEMASSES” is a leap forward into strengthening Ministry’s reputation as champions in both the industrial and metal music fields.


Rating: A

Yes, Al, I get the picture.

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