Ministry - The Last Sucker
13th Planet
Industrial Metal
11 songs (55:53)
Release year: 2007
Ministry, 13th Planet
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

So, here it is, the twelfth and last full-length release of original material from Ministry (there’s a covers album out soon, and then that’s it!) and as a closing chapter in Al Jourgensen’s musical career it’s a killer. Fans of previous effort Rio Grande Blood may be a little disappointed at first due to this album being more varied than its predecessor’s pretty single-minded Thrash attack, but give it time and you’ll discover that The Last Sucker is the kickass farewell that both we and Ministry deserve.

I’ve loved Ministry ever since I came across the video for Jesus Built My Hotrod (from 1992’s classic Psalm 69) in my new-to-metal days, and that love hasn’t let up since, and isn’t disappointed now. The album kicks off with a bang, the searing Let’s Go taking the ripping speed of Rio Grande Blood and marrying it to an epic sound that the band has touched on often but rarely achieved such results with. As mentioned, the overall riffage here is more groove than thrash, but it’s hard to care as the song is that damn good, the frequent chorus shouts of ‘let’s go insane!’ a call to arms like few others can accomplish.

Like most other tracks here, there are lots of kickass solos from guitarist Mike Scaccia, the line-up being completed by Prong’s Tommy Victor, John Bechdel on keyboards (Fear Factory, Ascension Of The Watchers, Front Line Assembly, etc) Slipknot’s Joey Jordison on drums, and not to mention bass backing from the late lamented Paul Raven (Killing Joke) in his final performance.

Watch Yourself takes a more sombre tone, sounding like Thieves from 1989’s brilliant The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste - a mid-paced percussion-driven atmospheric piece - before speeding up into an effect-laden blaster reminiscent of nineties Fear Factory. Speaking of the cyber crew, frontman Burton C. Bell does an excellent job on guest vocals for the punky Die In A Crash, with another guest Casey Chaos (Amen and Scum) providing the intro to an incredible cover of The DoorsRoadhouse Blues, which is one of the album highlights, undoubtedly.

There’s no filler material here whatsoever, the more experimental tracks like The Dick Song working well, whilst crushing speedballs like Death & Destruction are the most Metal thing that Al’s done for years. The most impressive overall, though, is the closing End Of Days (also featuring Burton C. Bell) which opens with some mid-paced Thrash groove before moving into a melodic spoken word section in the second part that samples child choirs and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s famous speech warning of the dangers of the then-forming military-industrial complex, and of America becoming the policeman of the world.

Not to preach (this is hardly music for the Republican Convention, after all) but the old man was right, and the fact that for some reason it’s become passé to criticise the US and other right-wing establishments is depressing. People may well be sick of being told that their rulers are evil (bad enough that most people seem to be extremist in their views on the topic, for or against) but it doesn’t alter the fact that most simply don’t care, and ignorance is never an excuse.

Ministry leaves us at a critical time, what with the current unpredictability of the forthcoming election. However McCain, Hilary or Obama turn out as leader of the most powerful nation on earth, there’s much hope that they’ll do a better job than the previous holder of the position. So, having kicked against the pricks for the better part of the last thirty years, the pulpit is empty, the preacher has finished his sermon, and the musical world is all the poorer for it. There are few enough bands that simply make kickass music that you can stick on and be guaranteed a good time; with the dissolution of the Ministry, there’s one less. Play The Last Sucker loud and play it proud, with a salute to Al for all he’s done. This farewell will be ringing in our ears for a long time to come.

Killing Songs :
All, esp. Let’s Go, Life Is Good, Roadhouse Blues, Die In A Crash, both End Of Days
Goat quoted 93 / 100
Other albums by Ministry that we have reviewed:
Ministry - From Beer to Eternity reviewed by Goat and quoted 60 / 100
Ministry - Relapse reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Ministry - Psalm 69 reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Ministry - Filth Pig reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Ministry - Cover Up reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
To see all 9 reviews click here
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