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Ministry
The Last Sucker
13th Planet/Megaforce Records
www.ministrymusic.org


Paul Raven R.I.P. 1/16/61-10/20/07

Unless you've been living under 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, you will know that this is advertised as the last album of Al (now Alien) Jourgensen's administration. He's retiring Ministry and his final act in office will not be to pardon the sitting Commander in Chief, but to indict, vilify and demonize the lame duck prez. A message he's repeated like an Allman Brothers lick for years. The message is an exercise in futility. Unless viewed as a "lest we forget" bookmark of history, the final trilogy of Bush bashing makes Jourgy look a pitiable creature in need of the serenity prayer. The question is once this era has past, will anyone look back on this album? I don't play my Reagan Youth records too much these days. Let's look ahead, shall we?

Don't be fooled by the title "Life Is Good," The Last Sucker offers no hope, no humor and no relief from the sonic barrage. At least my promotional copy, which I tried in several machines, has the growled vocals mixed so low that the only audible volume puts the guitars at an ear-splitting level. It's got an interesting slimy effect on track 1, but is unmaintainable for extended listening. And since when did Ministry become Yngwie Malmsteen? The neon-toned guitar solos are blistering 80's schlock. "Roadhouse Blues" gets a sinister treatment not seen before. "Die in a Crash" is driven by delicious bass from Killing Joke's Paul Raven/and or Prong's Tommy Victor, as well as a speedy delivery that takes the edge off some of the heaviness and has Jourgensen sounding for once like a human person. Fear Factory singer Burton C. Bell and Dwight Eisenhower guest on the last track, where lo and behold, the vocals can be heard beautifully. Too late, like the unlistenable G7 releases, this makes me want to vote Republican.

-Ewan Wadharmi


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