CD Review of Tohuvabohu by KMFDM, The Last Sucker by Ministry

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Buy your copy from KMFDM:
starstarhalf starno starno star Label: Metropolis Records
Released: 2007
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Buy your copy from Ministry:
The Last Sucker
starstarno starno starno star Label: 13th Planet Records
Released: 2007
Buy from

There’s something comforting about a well-defined musical genre. The sonic equivalent of coloring within the lines, and contrary to the tired Gumpism about that damn box of chocolates, sometimes I want to know what I’m going to get. And it’s typically the most typecast, pigeonholed, obvious musical styles that have the most staying power. Ask someone about “alt country” and you’re likely to get either blank stares or a meandering dialog of a definition so dog-eared it’s useless. Polka? That’s easy. Emo? Give it a try. I dare you. Metal? No problem. Rock? Not on your life. Ska? Simple.

While true fanatics know industrial has as many offshoot styles and sub-developments as any other musical form, to me it’s always boiled down to a basic, well-defined essence: heavy guitars, heavy syths, fully programmed drums, rock beats/rhythms, militaristic (and scary sounding) vocals; Ministry’s “Stigmata” being the defining song of the genre, Nine Inch Nails being its most successful practitioner. And don’t give me that “industrial music ended with Throbbing Gristle, you’re talking about post-industrial” crap or I’ll kick you back into your aggrotech hole. Or maybe I meant coldwave…yeesh.

Twenty-some-odd years later, and two of industrial music’s mainstays are still at it: KMFDM’s Tohuvabohu (translation: chaos) is mastermind Sascha Konietzko’s 15th studio effort. Ministry’s The Last Sucker is Al Jourgensen’s 11th studio album (though he’s gone on record as saying it’ll be the last one). But this ain’t your father’s industrial, bucko…not by a long shot.

KMFDMTohuvabohu will likely be yet another sucker punch to the back of the head of old school KMFDM fans, what with vocalist Lucia Cifarelli nearly dominating this record. While there are some highlights (“Looking for Strange,” “Saft und Kraft,” the title track), it’s largely the same kind of outing as KMFDM’s more recent outings. If you think that’s a good mix, you’ll appreciate this album. Nihil-era fans won’t be happy, though, and will hear in Tohuvabohu confirmation of KFMDM’s long, slow, inevitable decline into irrelevance.

Oh, and if you’re one of the last remaining idiots still wondering about the acronym behind the band’s name, there’s this new invention called the Internet where you can look up stuff like that.

The Last Sucker is the third installment in Ministry's trilogy of heavy-handed political albums attacking the George W. Bush administration (following 2004's Houses of the Molé and 2006's Rio Grande Blood). I don’t even recognize the music as industrial, to tell you the truth -- it’s a thrash metal album with a hint of industrial edge. So Jourgensen calls Dick Cheney the spawn of Satan. Terrific. It’s the “harder, faster” sound that does this effort in. A piss poor and ultimately paint-by-numbers final album. Blechh.

So, in a nutshell: both of these are for die-hard fans only. As if anyone else would even care.

~Una Persson