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Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed & the Way to Suck Eggs

Ministry

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Album Review

Easily one of the most anticipated albums from that year, especially after Nine Inch Nails had helped bring industrial metal to the mainstream with the success of the overtly Ministry-worshipping Pretty Hate Machine, Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed & the Way to Suck Eggs represented the high point of Alain Jourgensen and Paul Barker's incarnation as loud-as-hell electro-thrashers. The pump had been primed the previous year with the fierce "Jesus Built My Hot Rod," featuring Gibby Haynes from Butthole Surfers on vocals ranting over a galloping molten explosion of beats and feedback. Presented in a slightly edited version here, it's still the high point of the album, while a reworked version of its B-side, "TV Song" (here called "TV II" and with Jourgensen on vocals instead of Chris Connelly), also makes for some good noise. Throughout, however, Ministry as a unit shows their facility for straightforward, brutal noise crossed with clinical, on-the-money arrangements, whether it's the collage of crowd-riot samples bubbling throughout "N.W.O." or the chantings of Christian praise on the title track. As a role model for any number of nu-metallers down the road, Psalm 69 is often terribly underrated, but where Ministry succeeds while so many failed easily has to do with sheer vitriol only slightly tempered by the overwhelming hugeness of the songs. Consider the massive impact of the drums on "Just One Fix" as they lead into tightly wound, downward-spiral riffing or the hyper-speed clatter of "Hero" and "Corrosion." Jourgensen's rasped lyrical visions of a corrupt America, drug addiction, mindless patriotism, and religious hypocrisy aren't per se revelatory, but anyone who lived through the Bush years — either father or son — might find plenty to sympathize with. Secret highlight: "Scarecrow," which takes the massive slow pound of Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" and takes it to a strung-out, harrowing new location.

Customer Reviews

iTunes can call it whatever they want...

...but this IS Psalm 69. I bought this on CD when it was originally released. Don't be fooled by papajoewolf claiming this is the same album, plus Scarecrow. The IS Psalm 69, despite the gibberish hieroglyphs on the cover. Psalm 69 always had Scarecrow on it. I don't know what version he bought, but if you buy it here on iTunes, or in a discount bin at the local CD store, Scarecrow will be there. As Far as I'm concerned, this was the peak of Ministry, musically speaking. Following this album, they were never the same. Al decided to go on political tirades that just killed anything the majority of fans loved about the band. NWO and Just One Fix bring you the hard pounding style that fans had grown accustomed to in recent years, while Scarecrow takes you on an eerie journey through an industrial horror film. TV II is like listening to a frentic jumble of angry emotions, while Hero harkens back to the earlier Stigmata. Jesus Built My Hotrod was a bit of throwback fun while Psalm 69 was as powerful as it was beautiful... and should have been the track to end this album. Grace is simply 3+ minutes of noise, but you're able to overlook it because the rest of the album is virtually perfect.

Memories

I was listening to this when I was 13 years old, and I am now 31 years old! I consider it to be one of my favorite bands from my teens, and I can honestly say, it sounds as good today as it did back then. I love this album! It's worth listening to for those who are curious.

Unicode, Apple?

What's funny is not only did they not get the correct title of the album ("Psalm 69"), but they've messed up the spelling of the word they mistakenly took for the title of the album. You would think in today's age, Apple could properly spell "ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ", which is what "KE*A*H**" is supposed to say (they've replaced the greek letters that don't look exactly like something from the latin alphabet with stars), and is what was actually printed on the album.

Anyhow, regardless of the name, this is definitely Ministry at its best.

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...
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