CD Review of Rio Grande Blood by Ministry

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Buy your copy from Revolting Cocks:
Cocked and Loaded
starstarstarstarstar Label: 13th Planet/Megaforce Records
Released: 2006
Buy from

Buy your copy from Ministry:
Rio Grande Blood
starstarstarhalf starno star Label: 13th Planet/Megaforce Records
Released: 2006
Buy from

Al Jourgensen has been a busy bee lately. He fired up his most notable side project in the Revolting Cocks and put out a new disc after a 13-year absence. His main gig, Ministry, ripped off another hate letter to the Bush administration in Rio Grande Blood. Now he is touring fronting both the Cocks and Ministry on the MasterBaTour, a difficult task considering the intensity of the material.

The Revolting Cocks have always been a forum for Jourgenson’s demented sense of humor, and with titles like “Prune Tang,” “Jack in the Crack” and “Pole Grinder” (about a transvestite stripper who dances to save enough dough for a sex change operation), he does not disappoint. Musically, Cocked and Loaded has more variety then the Ministry record, and it is a lot easier to listen to. “Viagra Culture” features a very danceable drum track accompanied by some interesting guitar riffing, while guest Cock Jello Biafra skewers our consumer culture’s obsession with winning. “Ten Million Ways to Die” is satanic lounge music featuring a low voice effect on erstwhile Butthole Surfer Gibby Hayne’s vocals, which are interrupted by breakneck speed changes that blast through the chorus. The album closer, “Revolting Cock au Lait” grabs the drum track from Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” inserts the phone sex spoken-word lyrics of poet/sex expert/writer Lady Monster, and some very cool horns credited to Earth, Wind and Satan. “Devil Cock” is a track that musically is more of a match for the Ministry album, but because the topic is not political, it lands on the Revolting Cocks disc. It has that crushing guitar work and speed that is ever present on Rio Grande Blood. Interestingly enough, guest Cocks include Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen and Robin Zander and ZZ Top guitarist, Billy Gibbons, who lend some guitar solos and backing vocals to a couple of tracks.

From the opening manipulation of George W. Bush sound bites (mixing different audio tracks of his voice so he can be heard saying things like, `I’m a brutal dictator’) to the final note of “Khyber Pass,” Rio Grande Blood is an assault on the ears and the Bush administration. It is as heavy as any record released this year. It is intense, acerbic and incredibly well executed from a musical perspective. You can’t listen to this record if you have a pounding headache, but if you’re looking to spend some time in hell, or drive 2,000 miles per hour, this may be the right record.

Picking up where 2004’s Houses of the Mole and 2005’s re-mix album Rantology left off, Ministry is focused on politics and the current leader of the free world. This is a record that is thunderous, loud, and overflowing with bile and piss. There is no room to take a breath here, because this is a 51-minute sermon from your demonic minister, good ol’ Uncle Al. Hey Al, how do you feel about 9/11? From “LiesLiesLies” he answers with:

I’m on a mission to never forget
3,000 people that I’ve never met
We want some answers and all that we get
Some kind of shit about a terrorist threat
Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies (three times)
Surpise surprise

If you are looking for a musical machete to the face, here it is, loud, fast and angry with nasty crunchy guitar work and distorted vocals. If you are looking for the adolescent side of the industrial genre with a bit more of an ear friendly musical arrangement, go get Cocked and Loaded.

~R. David Smola