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Ministry – ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ, or Psalm 69: The Way To Succeed And The Way To Suck Eggs

Whoa, this one takes me back. There were two guys in my class in high school who were waaay into this album. To any younger readers out there, yes, I am old, I was in high school in 1992. Anyway. I didn’t listen to this stuff a whole lot at the time (I was into jazz), but over time I have discovered that techno-metal smash-up derby albums like this are actually quite fun, when the mood strikes… I even saw Ministry live one time, I’ll get to that, stay with me… First, the songs:

N.W.O. has a hypnotic driving pulse that ought to be annoying but is certainly not so, particularly at high volume. I can hear where Trent Reznor might get his rocks off, listening to this track, and if this is how the New World Order will sound, I am OK with it – turn it up, overlords! Next is Just One Fix, which shoves raunchy guitars to the fore and tries to crush your skull with its pounding and distorted vocals, all while its opening statement reminds us to never trust a junkie. Glory!

TVII was an oft-quoted bit, back in school. “Connect the goddamn dots!!” But oh man the BPMs here are certifiably insane. What a total rush! Whooaa! Hero keeps the pace racing in a fantastic Motörhead homage. It’s metal, punk and crazy all wrapped up in an explosive and brilliant track.

Jesus Built My Hotrod features Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers, etc) on lead vocals. It’s another relentless psycho tech-metal blow-out, guaranteed to strip paint and set you to destroying the living room as you crash around to its energy. Scare Crow is the first track to cut the blistering tempos to half, even a quarter speed. It plods along menacingly with a searing metal guitar assault and sounds like what every bad guy in every movie ever wished had been their intro scene soundtrack track. It’s Sabbath done Ministry-style.

Psalm 69 takes that metal plod from Scare Crow and carries it into its first half, but then things take off and it’s a swinging stomping metal basher that vascillates between the two feels over its length. Two songs in one, and I like them both! Crank it! Corrosion is exactly that, a swirling metal mindfuck that probably got played at that rave scene in the Matrix. You know the one – “hey all the metal robots are coming to kill us, but tonight let’s party instead of trying to get the fuck out of here!” Yeah, that one. And finally, Grace is three minutes of pure noise and distorted talking voices, and epigraph for your mind, a come down from the driving and relentless energy of all that has come before, a ngoodnight kiss as you drift back into the nightmare of reality.

In Sum: 

Add in all of the hilarious, quasi-religious and weird spoken bits at the start of tracks (and within tracks), and you have a stellar record of metal, punk and electronic mayhem that has an esthetic all its own. This is fully-realized and controlled chaos, a statement of intent and philosphy. It’s also bent on crushing your skull as it drives over you at 100 mph. Fun!


So yeah, one time in Saskatoon we went to see Ministry in concert in 2004. Our friend Michael was bent on going, so my lovely wife and I went along. Opening the gig was My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult. I don’t remember a single song they played, but I know they were loud and, well, writhing. That’s my memory of it, well, that and the fact that the lead singer was wearing these tight black leather pants and jacket (and no shirt beneath) and he kept teasing the crowd that’d he’d strip it off until he eventually did this gross strip tease as he removed the jacket… despite, may I add, all my yelling at him to please not do so. Yeah. And Ministry, in full regalia, was super-loud and punishing, but actually a lot of fun too. I liked Al’s mic stand, covered as it was in skulls and detritus and whatever else.

Below is Ministry’s setlist from that gig. I also remember an encore that included their cover of Black Sabbath’s Supernaut, so I don’t think has the complete info. Anyway, I’ll take their word for it that this is otherwise accurate…

Setlist for Ministry, Prairieland Park, Saskatoon, SK

No W
Warp City
Just One Fix
Psalm 69

1 Shot Spitune

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