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Class 6(66)

Ministry: The land of rape and honey

05/08/08  ||  Daemonomania

Released: 1988

Introduction

Who woulda thunk that Ministry’s Al Jourgensen, a man who had put out some seriously weak and whiny new wave albums, would be the man to put out a metallic, punky, and downright scary industrial album? And go on doing so for twenty years? Not me. Not you. I’m assuming he did a bunch of bad drugs and watched a bunch of violent movies. Then, Al distorted the fuck out of his emo voice and downtuned a guitar. “The land of rape and honey” was born, and is still a reference point for what we think of as industrial music today. You can hear the vicious and hallucinogenic influences in everything from Nine Inch Nails to Fear Factory.

Songwriting

7.5. There are three types of songs on “LORH”. You’ve got your long, grinding, abstract and mentally unbalanced noisy tracks stuffed full of samples. You’ve got your shorter, more chorus-based, and actually somewhat catchy songs with memorable riffs. And you’ve got a track or two that not so catchy, not too psychedelic, but still as short and mean and the midget from “Don’t Look Now.” Each has something to offer, it just depends what you prefer.

Production

8. Holds up pretty well, in fact I’d say. Though it is dated the production gives this album its nasty charm. The vocals hiss, the guitar sizzles, and the drums jackhammer. Score.

Guitars

6. Alberto is not a master of the six string phallic symbol. The riffs are harsh, simple, and looped over and over. The solos, if you could call them that, are just painful whammy bar abuse and feedback. But gall-durn, they work perfectly within the frame of what Ministry was shooting for. Or shooting up. Anyway, while guitar isn’t present on every track it puts the rape in the land of rape and honey.

Vocals

9. The Jorg-man (not Sandström, you fool) really couldn’t sing for shit before, and that hasn’t changed. My buddy loves to torment me relentlessly by singing a line from “Twitch” in a nasally, shaky voice that is a spot on imitation of early Ministry. However, the magic of vocal distortion makes Al sound like a computer full of meth and LSD. He howls, speaks in a dull monotone, and even sings a bit and it all sounds nice and crunchy. Perfection. I heard that someone jumped onstage during a Ministry show back in the day, grabbed the mic, and yelled something into it. The effects on the vocals made it sound like pitch-perfect Hypo Luxa. That story, while it could be true, could also be false. TRUST NO ONE!

Also, the samples on here deserve a mention. While I often have no fucking clue where some of the stuff is taken from, it is fun to play the “spot that sample” game. I hear a bunch of shit from “Platoon,” which I just watched again the other day, and of course the classic “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” sample in “You know what you are.” That track is without a doubt my favorite, for Eli Wallach’s laughter alone.

Bass

2. Like K once said, can’t say I hear much of it.

Drums

7. Prototypical Ministry style hammering drum machine loops. Sometimes more like classic electronica (“Stigmata”), sometimes like a double bass assault (actually, “Stigmata” again), and other times spacey and spare. I thought this was all electronic, but a drummer is credited. Got me. I’m a little fuzzy as to who does what in Ministry overall. Except Al – guitar, vocals, heroin.

Lyrics

6. Buck Satan had yet to start hating the Bush family, so this is full of stream of consciousness, vaguely occult, and often sadistic lyrics. Generally, they’re pretty cool, except for “Flashback,” which is full of embarrassing lines like:

I’m gonna rip her flesh, I’m gonna piss in her face, I’m gonna rip her open, and then hit her with mace

Hit her with mace? If this were Amon Amarth, you’d hit her with A MACE. Then split her skull to the teeth with a battleaxe.

Cover art

1. Supposedly, this is a distorted image of a burned corpse in a concentration camp. Now, I know that the industrial movement loved to use fascist imagery back in the day to offend the maximum number of people. And I also know we here in Metalland love to be offensive and rude as well. But really, the Holocaust? Why do you have to go there? I wish that people who think that Nazis are cool be sent back to WWII to enjoy them firsthand. Then I’ll take a picture of your burned corpse and put it on my album cover, fuckhole. Sorry. Rant over.

Logo

2. Scrawled kiddie writing. Not until recently has Ministry ever been interested in a steady, nifty logo.

Booklet

1. Pretty much nothing in here at all. The tracks are listed again, YIPEE!

Overall and ending rant

8. If you’re a fan of industrial music, especially its more metallic side, then you already have this. If not, and you want to understand how thrash riffs can make friends with drum loops, this is well worth your time. Some of the longer more chaotic tracks can be punishment. But listen to “LORH” as a whole, you gotta take the rape with the honey. A landmark in aggressive music.