Ministry
Hopiumforthemasses

I reviewed Ministry’s 14th album Moral Hygiene in 2021, on here and really enjoyed it….a lot and now Hopiumforthemasses, their 15th album-wow, is here and sees Al Jourgensen incorporating elements from all the various Ministry eras on here…That’s right.  There are moments going all the way back to their 1983 With Sympathy debut album, which was the New Wave era.

9 songs in 42 minutes and “B.D.E.” is the album opener with voice and news samples this is a slow brooder with some really good guitar riffing, and around the three-minute mark is when the song rips into a thrash moment, thank god, because before that moment the song was getting to be more of a droning style.  After the speedy moment a jumpy moment with the industrial noises, riffing, and back gang shouting, makes for a better listening experience.

Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedy’s fame returns, yet again on “Aryan Embarrassment” and I just love seeing this long-standing collaboration between Al and Jello continue.  This has some excellent guitar riffing and sampling and Jello takes the majority of the vocal reigns and when the song speeds up to a slow thrashing speed Al gets his vocals in.  The song has guitar solos and wails, samples, heavy riffing, and industrial samples galore.  This song will rupture your eardrums and this is one of the catchiest Ministry songs in the last 15 years.  This actually could have been on Rio Grande Blood, with how this song is structured, and is one of the best albums the band has ever done.

Right after that “TV Song 1/6 Edition” erupts.  This would not be a Ministry album without another TV song thrown in the mix and this is the fastest song on the album.  A great speedy thrasher with multiple vocal effects are all over this song and this song does not want to let up and never does and gets even faster towards the ends.  Excellent song.  This 2 song combo hit is most excellent.

“Cult of Suffering” brings in those New Wave elements I was speaking about earlier and is a bombastic tune with a variety of guest vocals and tons of samples and tambourines!!!  Good song to break up some of the monotony of a bunch of the songs.  Very catchy chorus and for the most part the rest of the other songs are average, at best.

Some catchy moments with “Ricky’s Hand” and “Just Stop Oil” rises up with the fast guitar riffing and syncopated pattern.  This song has multiple tempo shifts.  Beginning slow, then picking up the pace with a lot of industrial metal moments, as well as samples.  This is one of the stronger songs with more aggressive vocal moments as well, once the more aggressive parts hit.

But songs like “New Religion”, “It’s not Pretty”, and the rest are fair to middling.  I find this album more rooted in mid-paced moments, which is fine, if the songs would go somewhere.  It’s like a tale of two halves, as the first half of the album is stronger.  Maybe a flip-flopping of the songs with a different track order would have made the album flow better, in my opinion.

The production on Hopiumforthemasses is fantastic.  The samples generate that industrial madness and the other effects are all interwoven into the music seamlessly and the album cover is striking with just a little bit of color with the mushrooms and band logo.  Excellent cover.  This is a decent Ministry album, but they left some meat on the bone, out there, they can do better.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
March 7th, 2024

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