Ministry summons inflatable chickens and makes the sonic equivalent to being crucified on a Tesla coil
Ministry has gone through several career periods—the sensory effects of which range from feeling like you’re running through a junkyard naked to feeling like you’re trapped in a microwave full of sparking forks.
It’s heavy-—but it’s never just heavy.
Having released Houses of the Molé, Rio Grande Blood, and The Last Sucker—colloquially known as the George W. Bush trilogy —there should be no surprise when in the Trump era, that Ministry is almost primordially drawn to the studio. Their newest album AmeriKKKant, is part of an established tradition.
“It always starts with music first,” guitarist Sin Quirin says. “The lyrical content always comes afterwards, but we didn’t go into it initially saying, ‘We’re going to make a political record,’ or anything. Really, it just started with the music. With the way things are going out here, with all the politics and everything, it just went hand-in-hand.”
With dense riffs, punchy synth, and front man Al Jourgensen’s often imitated but never duplicated barking vocals, this album marks the band’s 14th release. True to form, it features appearances from friends like Fear Factory’s Burton C. Bell and Surgical Meth Machine (Jourgensen’s side project) collaborators like N.W.A.’s Arabian Prince. The fourth track “TV5/4Chan” even continues the T.V. song series.
While much of Ministry remains consistent, they made soem stylistic changes. Not quite like the high electric thrash of previous releases, Quirin says AmeriKKKant is deliberately thicker.
“It’s a lot different than any of the records I’ve worked on,” Quirin says. “I would always tell Al that I wanted to do slower songs or bring that sort of bottom end and that groove back, which I thought we were missing with some of those last records. And I think we got it with this one.”
Never content with an average live show, Ministry has spent over 30 years honing a powerful and unique stage presence. Between black leather, intricately-carved mic stands, and now a giant, inflatable, Trump-haired chicken, the show is always something to behold. Famously, the band erected chain-link fences around the stage in the late 1980s.
“It was a pain in the ass,” Quirin says. “I hate those fucking fences, man. The fences that they used in the late ‘80s were very secure and solid and people could actually climb on them. And the ones that we used in 2008 weren’t. People thought they were, so people would climb up on stage and jump on them, and they’d just fall on our faces.”
The original Ministry lineup formed in 1981 in Chicago, releasing their debut album two years later. Over the next 20 years, Ministry became one of the darkest, most celebrated, and seminal bands in what became known as industrial metal. Quirin joined the band in 2007 for the final record of that Bush era.
Even with the album released and the tour just beginning, Quirin is already busy working on new material. He says there are around four or five song ideas floating around for a new Revolting Cocks (another side project) album, as well as tentative plans to tour South America and Australia.
With all the chaos in its career, music, and the wider context of President Trump’s tenure, it seems fitting that Ministry should reemerge when fans need them most, delivering something that feels like the sonic equivalent to being crucified to a Tesla coil. It’s sensory overload—but it’s never just sensory overload.
“After a gig, I hope people just, at least for an hour and a half or so, forget about everything else that’s going on in their lives and just really get into the music, and dig and forget.”