The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Ministry – Psalm 69
Some might be surprised at finding out that Ministry once started out as a New Wave band and not the Industrial Rock/Metal band that there more well known for. And the only reason I can think of that is, either fans didn’t take the time to look at the bands back catalogue of albums, or that they began to gain more notice after the release of their 1988 album, The Land of Rape and Honey, which saw the band incorporating more speed and grittiness to their sound. This was a new Ministry, and their sound kept evolving with each new release, and one album in particular I believe is the highlight of the career. The album that was their breakthrough into the metal realm, 1992’s Psalm 69…
With Psalm 69, Ministry ditched the cheesy style synth pop/new wave sound, and in place they made dramatic changes by including a marriage of metal style riffing, aggressive drumming, and of course, multiple samples of political and movie sound-bites, that further added to the bands overall theme and vision. Gone are the songs about love and other nonsense, now it’s all about politics, drugs and religion. But what really makes this album work and helps it come across as a full fledged industrial/metal album, is the addition of Mike Scaccia of Rigor Mortis fame, on guitar. The combination of heavy thrash riffs from Mike and Al Jourgensen’s intense vocals pretty much made Psalm 69 the most memorable album of their career and helped bring them into the metal world.
This is also the first Ministry album that has superb production. Whereas earlier alums came off sounding too trebly or bassy, Psalm 69 tones the treble down to a tolerable level and allows the drum machine, guitars and vocals to level out and take center stage. They all work wonderfully together, having the final outcome be an album that just blasts aloud with clarity. Another plus, Psalm 69 has diversity, offering up something for everyone. Whether it be the slow and gloomy stylings on “Scarecrow”, the thrash assaults on “Just One Fix” and “Hero”, the head banging inducing “Psalm 69” or the touch of industrial tones on “Corrosion” and closing track “Grace”, this album has it all. Plus there are the out of whack nuances of “Jesus Built My Hot Rod” and “T.V. II” that might feel out of place, but ultimately, are very fitting to the album.
It’s been 19 years since Psalm 69 was released and it still sounds as fresh and vital as it did all those years ago. It’s a classic album that features plenty of hallmark Ministry tunes, and the album that catapulted the band to a whole new fan base. And although the band is now split-up, don’t let that dissuade you from taking the time to check them out, especially Psalm 69. This album could very well make you a fan.
Ministry – “Just One Fix”