Filth Pig (Warner Bros.)
by Scott Hefflon
Ah, the sordid lives those darn Ministry guys live. I enjoy reading page after page of re-processed press kit material about the trials and tribulations of the recording process, their run-ins with the English press, and local Texas authorities, and how happy they are with their new album Filth Pig. I carefully tear out all moodily-lit photos taken from rakish angles of the main members of Ministry, Al and Paul, and poster my bedroom with them. Boy, are they tough. Unshaven, disheveled, staring with piercing intensity through too-cool sunglasses, dressed all in black – they’re my idols. I pay top dollar for their new release, the ploddingly minimalistic repetition of simple phrases and, from what I understand, music that was recorded live-esque instead of taking all the time and energy to meticulously craft each song, sound by sound, with the perfectionist’s ear. I’m glad they pumped out the album in a creative-by-contract frenzy in five to six months. It’s been almost four years since they released the metal masterpiece, Psalm 69, and judging from the rush job, done in Ministry-time as opposed to real-time, they continue to keep an artistic aura about them.
Reaching the pinnacle of tech-metal wizardry with the sample-saturated epic (both in length and greatness) Psalm 69, the collective geniuses of Ministry ditched most of the samples and overbearing weight of all those layers of sound for a sparse style based on monstrously distorted guitar, plodding acoustic drums, and big, fuzzy bass. They didn’t resort to copying the formula of the manic “Jesus Built My Hotrod.” They didn’t stoop to writing the infuriatingly poignant lyrics of their earlier albums. They again refused to print lyric sheets, so we the people are left forever in the dark as to what is going through the brilliant mind and mouth of Al Jourgensen during a song like “Dead Guy.” There’s even a cover tune on here, “Lay Lady Lay” by Bob Dylan, no less. Ministry is so full of surprises. Filth Pig is sure to find its way into my musician archives as a testament to the social climate of the times.
Suck My Sarcasm.