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Rio Grande Blood
13th Planet Records/ Megaforce

According to Ministry's official web site, Rio Grande Blood is "a scathing diatribe on the past six years of the George W. Bush administration and its global effects, Rio Grande Blood is an unapologetic musical protest against what many people, and certainly (leader) Al Jourgensen, view as a corrupt administration bent on furthering its own political and macroeconomic agenda." And there's no denying the "scathing" part of this statement because this hard rock manifesto puts the pedal to the metal right from the starting line, and never lets up until Jourgensen is finished saying his peace.

The elements in Jourgensen's auditory protest include speed metal-esque guitars, drums, guttural screaming/singing, and sporadic George W. Bush spoken word drop-ins - which are speech snippets where the president's words are twisted to make him sound like a complete idiot. Of course, George doesn't do a half bad job in coming off stupid all on his own, without even an ounce of studio trickery. But Jourgensen, as one of the song titles puts it, makes Bush come off like an "Ass Clown." In fact, "Ass Clown" features a vocal introduction from former Dead Kennedy Jello Biafra. His contribution doubles the angry young man quotient on the track.

Along with Jourgensen's uninhibited anger, guitarist Tommy Victor (of Prong) also makes his instrumental presence felt throughout. His fret work is all over the place, placing instrumental exclamation marks next to many of Jourgensen's vocal statements.

This example of political anger shares a troublesome problem with anger in general, in that it is not completely thought out. I mean, how many times have you said something in heated haste that you wish to God you could take back? Similarly, while Jourgensen spreads the vitriol thick here, his lyrics are not what you might term intelligent political discourse. He sings that "Fear (Is Big Business)" and uses "Rio Grande Blood" to point back to Bush's Texas roots, but he's not exactly telling us something we don't already know. Bush's right wing agenda uses fear tactics, according to his many critics, and his connection to the oil industry is well documented. This is common knowledge.

Fear is, and always has been, big business. But Bush-whacking is also a trendy cultural commodity, too. If nothing else, singing/shouting along with Ministry's new release makes for some excellent primal scream therapy accompaniment music.

-Dan MacIntosh

Track Listing:
1. Rio Grande Blood
2. Señor Peligro
3. Gangreen
4. Fear (Is Big Business)
5. Lies Lies Lies
6. The Great Satan
7. Yellow Cake
8. Palestina
9. Ass Clown
10. Khyber Pass

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