Ministry live review – The Globe, Cardiff

Mad Al Jourgensen delivers civilisation’s last rites with Ministry, live in Cardiff

Ministry live in Cardiff

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Following last year’s major overhaul, Dez Fafara has clearly blooded his new incarnation of DEVILDRIVER [7] well, sounding as vicious as ever on the heaving likes of Clouds Over California and formidable new track My Night Sky, whose shuddering, mid-paced grooves are charge with a fearsome level of intent. Though Cardiff’s newest music venue does his vocals few favours, the frontman is his usual dynamic, intense self, clearly ecstatic at supporting his favourite band and furious with members of the crowd who might ruin his enjoyment.

If, like Killing Joke, MINISTRY’s [8] sound never seems to date, it could be because the global turmoil that fills their tanks is a source that never runs dry. Amidst media-savvy terrorist movements, mass shootings, police brutality and the soul-rotting poison of Donald Trump, the band should all be shaking The Globe to its foundations. Initially, though, the same PA problems rob them of their usual, massive sound as PermaWar fails to leave its jackboot stomp imprinted on the crowd. But by the time LiesLiesLies explodes with hellish potency six songs into the set, the atmosphere reaches its zenith.

Al Jourgensen’s demented jigs and sardonic stage clichés give way to an unhinged, smouldering figure as the set intensifies and unsurprisingly he’s clearly the star of the show – a post-apocalyptic ragman gleefully hawking the charred remnants of civilisation. But as always, he has assembled a more than capable band to preserve the Ministry legacy, with bassist Jason Christopher a driven showman and Stone Sour drummer Roy Mayorga proving particularly impressive on the pounding Stigmata as Jourgensen’s writhing vocals sound like they’ve overdosed on 21st-century madness. The shrill, ugly stomp of Rio Grande and the colossal, hallucinogenic rumble of N.W.O. lead to a sea of movement on the floor, while Just One Fix’s massive industrial body punch and the full-throttle blasts of Thieves are complemented by videos of politicians posturing and authoritarian power helping to translate the grim realities of the music. Now five years since their return and with the world hanging on the edge by its fingernails, Ministry’s enduring appeal and sheer presence continue to make perfect sense out of unbridled chaos, their closing cover of Devo’s Gates Of Steel adding a final stamp on their theatre of the absurd.

Adam Brennan

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.