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Rio Grande Blood

Ministry

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Album Review

Outraged, out of control, and a little bit out of ideas, Ministry unleashes their second attack on President George W. Bush with Rio Grande Blood, number two in Al Jourgensen's promised Bush-hating trilogy, which when finished will bring his Ministry project to a close. The manipulated Bush samples and hate-filled revolution lyrics utilized on 2004's great Houses of the Molé are back, and if there's an easy way to differentiate that album from what is essentially Molé, Pt. 2, it's the contribution Prong guitarist Tommy Victor makes to this edition of Ministry, giving Rio Grande Blood a tauter crunch, a sharper thrash. Victor's influence extends past the tracks he appears on, as evidenced by the opening title track, which finds Jourgensen creating a Prong-ish juggernaut on his lonesome. While lumbering numbers like "Fear (Is Big Business)" and "Yellow Cake" will do little to attract new fans — and the reappearance of the Rantology compilation's "The Great Satan" feels like a cheat — there's plenty of that smart, topical bile that's uniquely Jourgensen to steady the album. Vicious thrash-punk of the highest order, "Lieslieslies" isn't afraid to question the "truth" about 9/11 and the way "Gangreen" parodies the Marines' cry of "Ooh-rah!" makes it a charming moment for pipe-bomb revolutionaries. If they happened to skip the last full-length, Ministry fanatics would do well to start here and then work their way up to the superior Houses of the Molé. Save a couple brilliant tracks, this is just the usual "satisfying follow-up."

Biography

Formed: 1981 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Until Nine Inch Nails crossed over to the mainstream, Ministry did more than any other band to popularize industrial dance music, injecting large doses of punky, over-the-top aggression and roaring heavy metal guitar riffs that helped their music find favor with metal and alternative audiences outside of industrial's cult fan base. That's not to say Ministry had a commercial or generally accessible sound: they were unremittingly intense, abrasive, pounding, and repetitive, and not always guitar-oriented...
Full bio

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