First off, let’s be clear before entering this review. Ministry had a huge impact on my musical endeavors. Al Jourgenson together with Paul Barker, who is not active in this band anymore but had an enormous influence on the musical direction Ministry took, made some of my all-time favorites. Ministry has called it quits more than a few times and has been resurrected more than I can remember but now it seems that this band is put to sleep eternally very soon.

Except for the first few years Ministry always was a ferocious beast. A beast where founder and master-mind Al Jourgenson portrayed his discontent, frustration, and anger. Especially regarding politics (president Bush on Houses of the Mole, Rio Grande Bood and The Last Sucker while President Trump got has ass deservedly kicked on AmeriKKKant), fascism and much, much more. Together their signature sound which means harsh guitars, cold drums, in your face samples, electronics and the distinctive voice of Uncle Al and his comrades stepped over boundaries and created a new music genre (Industrial Metal).

I have enjoyed every record although I must say, the heydays of this band are over. The predecessor of their newest record, Moral Hygiene (2021), contained some cool tracks such as “Believe Me” and “Search and Destroy (Stooges cover)” but reflecting on this record I must admit that the formula has lost a little of its edge. Will this also be the case for “HOPIUMFORTHEMASSES”?

The answer is yes. The formula is getting a bit stale now. We have heard it all before. This can be expected when a band has been creating music in the same genre for almost forty years. But does it matter? No, because Ministry still manages to create a punch in the face with a few songs. And simply put, although the chills and thrive; of the glorious (end of the) eighties and beginning of the nineties aren’t as effective as used to be, this band still can kick ass.

The second remark I must make is the fact that “HOPIUMFORTHEMASSES” is unbalanced. This album has some real cool in your face songs which are one of the best they have released.  Just listen to opener “B.D.E” (and google what its stands for), “Just Stop Oil” and “Goddamn White Trash”. Nothing new is presented but on these tracks Ministry sound like a well-oiled war machine ready to crush and mangle. On the mid-paced “Aryan Embarrassment” Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys, Lard) makes, just like the previous album, his entrance. He still has a unique voice, but I couldn’t help thinking ….I’ve heard this before but and with more ferocity.

“TV Song 1/6 Edition” is another edition of TV song and contains ultra-fast, flipped-out speed/thrash which easily fits Ministry’s best songs. Simply put: a great song. On the other hand: “New religion” feels a lot like a filler. “It’s Not Pretty” starts really threatening and is over when you know it.  On “Cult of Suffering”, which presumably is about the war in Ukraine, they even manage to go back to their (synth-)pop roots; and that’s my biggest concern about this album. It contains some great Industrial Metal but also includes some adventures that don’t fit with the rest, spoiling the atmosphere. It feels like a compilation of songs, not like an album on its own.

And although I like synth-pop it ruins a bit of the experience I was hoping for. Even a superb executed “Ricky’s Hand”, one of Fad Gadget’s greatest songs, can’t help it, and that’s a pity. Ministry is supposed to go out with a bang. At least, that is what I was hoping for. Now, it feels like an album which has a lot of hit and miss moments. The combination of songs and styles simply do not fit with each other. Let’s make clear:  Ministry has built a legacy with great albums and killer songs. This album even has a few in it. They have more, and pushed boundaries beyond belief but now it is time for some touring and then definitely close the curtains. Meanwhile, I will put a few of the songs of “Hopiumforthemasses” in a playlist and probably will not listen to it in its entirety anymore. In meanwhile I hope that they are touring in the Netherlands very soon if not: adieu Ministry, it was a fun ride, a long ride, and an exhilarating ride.

Score: 6,9 / 10
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: 1 March 2024

Reviewed By: Erik


Track listing:

  1. D.E
  2. Goddamned White Trash
  3. Just Stop Oil
  4. Aryan Embarrassment
  5. TV Song 1/6 Edition
  6. New Religion
  7. It’s Not Pretty
  8. Cult of Suffering
  9. Ricky’s Hand (Fad Gadget cover)



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