For the better part of thirty years, fans far and wide have been exposed to the uncompromising industrial explosiveness of Chicago’s Ministry. Lead by the notoriously unhinged Al Jourgensen, they’ve been bludgeoning audiences with tons of heavy riffs, evil electronic beats, and more strobe lights than an average person can handle. Today I give you the Top Ten songs by Ministry.
10. Waiting, House of the Mole
I’ve always felt that this was one of the better examples of a band coming back from a hiatus stronger than ever, and this record is part of that reason. This first album in the trilogy of George Bush hate records, “Waiting” is a song that pummels its listener with breakneck beats, and background beats that are awfully reminiscent of the sounds of warfare. Jourgensen spits poetic about “Waiting for the Day,” and how life is a waste of time in the U.S.A., but beneath all that hatred is a full force song that captures the anger that millions had during GW’s reign of terror over the world.
9. Jesus Built My Hotrod, Psalm 69
When I first was introduced to this band, this was the album that found me. As a young teenager, you really can’t even fathom what you’re hearing, but knowing what I know now, my mother should of been terrified of the images presented on this. It’s sacrilege(if you go for that type of thing)but beyond that I feel this song exemplifies the strangest parts of the band. The guitars and effects brought to us by the invaluably talented Paul Barker help keep the chaos going, and while the lyrics are often incoherent and rambling, it’s all in service to the spirit of the song. At number none of our Top Ten Ministry songs, “Jesus Built My Hotrod.”
8. Lava. Filth Pig
For me the music has always gone perfectly with the name of the song. Imagining slow, earth ruining fire gradually murdering everything around you, and you’re right in the world of Ministry in this heavy mid tempo song. That might sound like a strange description, but it’s the perfect expression of this song. I’ve heard quite a few fans of the band dismiss this record(in Favor of “Dark Side of the Spoon), but I’ve always really liked it, especially when comparing the two. Al’s vocals have this gravelly in your face tone behind them, and the sound bites throughout really add a sinister element to an already creepy, nightmare inducing track.
7. Burning Inside, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste
The slow churn of an industrial fan inside of an abandoned warehouse is always the first thing I think of when this whiplash inducing beat explodes on to the eardrums. “Burning Inside,” which finds us at number seven of the Top Ten Ministry songs is a track that is rage filled, and at times you think it’s a battle between all that's good and evil in the world. You might not think this band is full blown metal, but they’ve been steadily kicking the asses of mere mortal bands for more time than some of the bands have been alive. “Burning Inside” is a prime example of why they’re still so good.
6. Reload, Filth Pig
I got this album probably five years after it had been released, but honestly upon hearing it it still sounded incredibly fresh and innovative.From the initial countdown, all the way through the song, it’s a dangerous death trip through industrial lane. Al’s patented vocals shred threw brutal guitar chords and even though I’m not sure if a drum machine is being utilized or not, it works perfectly within the confines of the song. This album in 1996 is kind of mind blowing, and once again, Al’s lyrics are top notch. Who else could come up with “You wanna lie like a dog, you’re gonna wake up with fleas.” It’s simply brilliant.
5. No “W,” House of the Mole
What’s not to love? “The Omen” opening, toppled with “Evil” and the very Bush like samples make this song an anti-government, or anti Bush song to end them all. The vocals here are insanely fast, but so is everything else. Upon hearing this album, my friends and I were totally immersed in the style and attitude, and although many people wrote them off after their hiatus, I still think this is one of the better albums they ever recorded. It’s song like this that remind you that even though you grow old, you can still throw down enough to impress the young crowd.
4. Just One Fix. Psalm 69
How many people got into this band because of not only this album, but because of this song? At this point it’s hard to say, but from the opening of “Never trust a junkie” you can sense that this is a song that is mentally tough and also uncompromising in their rationale. Jourgensen’s difficulties with a multitude of substances has been very well documented, but it’s perhaps this song that puts you into the mind of an addict. “Life keeps slipping away” is probably a very well fear for people who succumb to this terrible world, and even if for a brief moment, the listener can understand the trials of living this life.
3. Stigmata, In the Land of Rape and Honey
This is an early track, but a goodie nonetheless. Finding its way to Number three on our Top ten Ministry songs, “Stigmata” cuts through the nonsense and gets right into the thick of it. The opening notes have always reminded me of a killer running through the woods with a chainsaw searching for the next specimen. The band initially began as something less severe, but by 1988, the band veered more in the direction of where they ended up being at their best. “In the Land of Rape and Honey” is the prime example of how that transition happened.
2. Thieves, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste
Remember when Limp Bizkit covered this song? Yes, sadly this is an actual thing. Anyway though, this song is equal parts heavy and bouncy at the same time, which isn’t super easy to do. One of the things Ministry does best is employing samples throughout their songs, and this is no exception. “Thieves,” on our top Ten Ministry tracks, is a track that melds both fast beats, but also is able to momentarily slow it done. What that does though, it essentially makes the return of the fast paced moments more exhilarating when they occur. It’s a tricky thing to do, but it works well here.
1. N.W.O., Psalm 69From the onset, this song is an onslaught of industrial magic. It’s simply incredible, and more than likely one of their best known songs. This record as a whole is incredible, and it was upon the release of this that saw the band catapult to big time fame. “N.W.O.,” number one on the Top Ten Ministry songs, is a track that has everything a fan of the band could want. Al’s lyrics and vocals are scratchy and furious, while the industrial metal tinged instrumental sections make yu want to go out and rule the world, for better or worse. If you never gave this record a chance, please do, it’s tracks like this that make it an extremely important album of the 90’s.
Thanks for reading, see you Monday
Landon Murray is a published writer and an avid lover of music, books and films. He's also a lover of the New Orleans Saints. He was born in 1982 and has a chainsaw tattoo on his arm.
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