"No one will ever accuse Al Jourgensen of not being pissed at the state of the world, no matter what state the world might be in": Ministry set the world to rights with Hopiumforthemasses

Al Jourgensen might be hinting at putting Ministry to bed after their next album, but Hopiumforthemasses shows the industrial metal legends are as incendiary and furious as ever

Al Jourgensen Ministry 2024
(Image: © Derick Smith)

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No one will ever accuse Al Jourgensen of not being pissed off at the state of the world, no matter what state the world might be in. Volleying acerbic social commentary from behind an aggressive veil of industrial metal driven by regimented drums, lumbering guitars and walls of samples has been Ministry’s forte since the late 80s. 

With the sextet firing on all cylinders after a rigorous post-pandemic touring schedule, the result is Al, backed by his live band, writing and recording album number 16. Not bad for a former heroin aficionado who cheated death as often as the lads down the pub would get together for a kick around, eh? 

These days Uncle Al is spitting in the eye of social media, the insidious distraction of so-called culture wars and planet plundering as he waits with bated breath to be able to utter the phrase, ‘the late Donald Trump’. As is Ministry’s MO, news clips and publicly sourced soundbites are woven around masterful power chord stomping, waves of manipulated electronica and Al’s rallying-cry bellow. 

The difference offered by Hopiumforthemasses is the sprightly feel the full band provides to furious finger pointers B.D.E. and Goddamn White Trash, the light-speed thrash of TV Song 1/6 Edition and the protest punch of Aryan Embarrassment, featuring former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra. 

This recording configuration injects additional life into the pumping groove laid down by Roy Mayorga and keyboardist John Bechdel’s textural waves, while Cesar Soto and Monte Pittman palm mute and wail like a string-burning thrash tandem from the 80s. 

Enmeshed among the lashing out, there are neat tricks like new wave key swells on New Religion, soul singer backing vocals on Cult Of Suffering and acoustic soundscapes on It’s Not Pretty, that make for a denser and much more engrossing listen.

Hopiumforthemasses is out March 1 via Nuclear Blast.