Somewhere in the last couple of decades, Al Jourgensen decided that the pulverising machine-metal he pioneered with 1992’s Psalm 69 was it, the Ministry sound, for ever and ever. For better or worse, he’s stuck to it, and Moral Hygiene labours under this parochial safety net.
See, for example, pummelling opener Alert Level, funk-inflected lead single Good Trouble, or the seething, creepy-crawling cover of Stooges’ classic Search And Destroy. Chunky, repetitive stun-gun guitars, sore-throat howls, throbbing digital backbeats, check, check, check.
But we can’t live in the 90s for ever, and thankfully Ministry’s fifteenth album provides a few surprise twists. Death Toll is a fun throwback to 80s industrial disco, all stripped-down stuttering beats and frantic vocal samples. Jourgensen’s old Lard co-conspirator Jello Biafra pops in for the album’s highlight, the dancefloor-filling hard rocker Sabotage Is Sex.
The sinister We Shall Resist is a doomy dark soundscape full of tension and dread. The synth-heavy Believe Me harkens back to the band’s new-wave salad days. Lyrically, of course, it’s all hair-on-fire pandemic panic, but what isn’t these days?