I’ve always been a huge fan of Ministry; ever since the days when I had Madonna hair and would wear a veil to those ridiculous eighties dance clubs only to spin around in an endless trance to songs like “Every Day is Halloween”. Oh my God, what am I saying? (Excuse me a moment while I collect my sanity and myself and begin again. Ahem.)
To me, the ever-faithful Ministry fan, “The Dark Side of the Spoon”(Warner Bros.) is Ministry in its most classic form. Here, you will still find the familiar screaming growl, sometimes through the megaphone, from the depths of Al Jourgensen’s tired and tortured soul. You will still feel the ever-present brutal, buzz saw guitars, throbbing bass, and brain-crushing drumbeats that were always there to catch you (or push you) when you fell. There is even banjo and a “drunken” saxophone this time! In addition, I would swear there is the sound of a dental drill thrown in there to mess with my worst phobia. I’m referring to one of the most provocative tracks on the CD, “Nursing Home”.
Just like the old days, this is the same Ministry you’ve been waiting to shoot into your veins again. I would always reach for a Ministry CD, (most likely “Filth Pig”), when I was feeling ultra-sexy or at my most wicked. “The Dark Side of the Spoon” brings those feelings to the forefront for me. It is just what the doctor ordered when you’re doing a gothic photo session in the middle of an empty cemetery. It’s perfect for turning the lights off and lighting the candles and applying way too much black eyeliner before hitting the streets at midnight.
Ministry just does strange things to you and this CD is no different. It’s the same drug with an added twist of nostalgic dark humor. Along the same lines as “Psalm 69” and “Jesus Built My HotRod”, the sarcastic “Step” pokes fun at the story of the recovering addict. “Supermanic Soul” is a bashing, punk rock, spaz attack with Jourgensen shrieking lines like “My lips are blue with the smell of death”!!! The single, “Bad Blood” is pure, sonic, industrial genius. When Ministry performed “Bad Blood” live in Los Angeles at the Palladium, they invited none other than Pete Burns (of Dead or Alive fame) to join them onstage to assist with the searing chorus. It was simply unforgettable.
Like many other bands with this much longevity, the Ministry line-up has changed dramatically again and again. (Guitarist William Tucker committed suicide last May.) Al Jourgensen is the only original and lasting member and indeed, the essence of the music that comes from Ministry itself. The fundamental sound has somehow remained intact with very little deviation from the core, industrialized darkness of its roots. The new material just has an added dose of creativity more than anything else.
“The Dark Side of the Spoon” is yet another magnetic and hypnotic piece of work which tends to take on a life of its own. On that note, in the words of Mr. Jourgensen himself, “Here is the end, here is nothing”.