Ministry / AmeriKKKant


Ministry is an American industrial metal band, founded in 1981 by Al Jourgensen in Chicago, Illinois. Originally a synth-pop outfit, Ministry shifted its style to become one of the pioneers of industrial metal in the mid-to-late 1980s. The band’s lineup has gone through many changes throughout its history, with Jourgensen remaining the only constant as the band’s main producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. Notable musicians who have contributed to the band’s studio or live activities include Paul BarkerMartin AtkinsBill RieflinChris ConnellyNivek OgreMike ScacciaRey WashamPaul RavenTommy VictorJason ChristopherTony CamposMonte PittmanBurton C. Bell and DJ Swamp.

Ministry found mainstream success in the late 1980s and early 1990s with three of their studio albums: The Land of Rape and Honey(1988), The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste (1989) and Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs (1992), with the former of the two certified gold and the latter certified platinum by the RIAA. The 1996 follow-up album, Filth Pig, was also critically acclaimed but did not repeat the success of its predecessors; the album did, however, earn Ministry its highest chart position on the Billboard 200, peaking at number nineteen. The band has been nominated for six Grammy Awards, and performed at several notable music festivals, including participating in the second annual Lollapalooza tour in 1992 and co-headlining Big Day Out in 1995.

Ministry was dissolved in 2008 after 27 years of recording and performing, and Jourgensen had since stated that they would never reunite. However, the band announced a reunion in August 2011, and has released three more studio albums since then: Relapse(2012), From Beer to Eternity (2013) and AmeriKKKant (2018).

AmeriKKKant is the fourteenth studio album by industrial metal band Ministry, which was released on March 9, 2018. It is their first release on Nuclear Blast, and marked the longest gap between studio albums in the group’s entire career; at five years, following From Beer to Eternity (2013). AmeriKKKant is also the first Ministry album without guitarist Mike Scaccia since The Last Sucker (2007); Scaccia died in 2012 but appeared posthumously on From Beer to Eternity.

The Analysis—-

I Know Words—-Would you expect anything less than a Trump sample to open this release…of course not. Al remains as outspoken and political as ever. This is a clear poke at the disaster presidency that America finds itself involved in. This is a bit sparse as far as instrumentation goes…..perhaps setting the mood for the onslaught to come. The vocal samples are wonderfully done and intermixed to form full radical sentences….Brilliant!

Twilight Zone—-With even more trump vocal samples, the music is a bit beefier here and filled with a bit more urgency. While noisy and erratic, this still lacks a bit of power for me. Al finally makes a vocal appearance….sounding less maniacal and a bit pushed to the back of the mix. This does have that nice genuine Industrial sound of days gone by…all in all…not to bad. The point is being made!

Victims Of A Clown—-Melding from the previous track seamlessly, this begins a bit sedate and with strains of Circus music…get the message? Clocking in at over 8 minutes, this takes a very long time to get started. Once the bass heavy music kicks in, the song takes a really nice shape. The lack of urgency on this release is very noticeable though….it used to be Al would rant solid for an entire hour on a release…this just seems a bit uninspired. The ‘chorus’ is nice and muscular….and tings get a bit damn noisy for a bit….like the old days.

Tv 5/4 Chan—-This brief 40 second interlude is a barrage of gunshots, TV sound bites and serves to usher in….

We’re Tired Of It—-This is more like what I have been waiting for on this release….a huge barrage of urgency….aggression and released energy set to a blistering pace. The vocal is louder and more up front….everything smacks you right in the face. The growls and yells are classic…I really needed this.

Wargasm—-Layered once again with sound bite samples and almost undistinguished vocals, the track clears up a bit to allow for the vocal. Burton C. Bell adds vocals to the chorus ala Fear Factory style…giving the album at this point a much needed breath of fresh air. This is a favorite of mine..if just for the clear and concise chorus vocal alone.

Antifa—-Powerful and featuring a driving bass line, this is another favorite track of mine. This again, takes me back to the glory days of the band when they were kings of the Industrial 90’s. This is thick…dense and has a pulsating programmed line that really comes alive in the second bar….driving the song to a new height. This is really nice. A brilliant track…though the vocals still seem really buried underneath everything.

Game Over—-After the previous track, this comes across as a ghost of a song at the onset. There is a nice melody line that travels through the song and makes it a bit more accessible. Of course, the song is full of soundbites from various generals…..and of course THE DONALD…..the layers of music that float over the melody line is pretty unique…..I don’t hate this.

AmeriKKKa—-Ending this release with a track that begins sounding more like a metal song, there are some nice elements along the way. I wish Al had more presence of mind to move his vocals up in these tracks…it sounds like he phoned in everything instead of actually participated. I like the slow, plodding sabbath style bass line… gives the track a doom filled atmosphere that appeals to me.

*** 1/2 out of 5


Aaron Lewis / Sinner


Aaron Lewis (born April 13, 1972) is an American musician and songwriter, who is the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and founding member of the rock group Staind, with whom he has released seven studio albums. He has since ventured into country music with his debut solo EP Town Line, which was released on March 1, 2011 on Stroudavarious Records. Lewis’ first full-length solo release, The Road, was released by Blaster Records on November 13, 2012.

Sinner is the second solo studio album by Aaron Lewis from the American rock band Staind. It was released in September 16, 2016, through Dot Records, and produced by Buddy Cannon. The first single, “That Ain’t Country”, was released on June 17, 2016, which coincided with the album announcement.To support the album, Lewis is doing a series of concerts titled “The Sinner Tour”.

The Analysis—-

Sinner [w/ Willie Nelson]—-Hearing this release by Lewis made me wonder why he had not started singing and performing Country music a very long time ago. The music is everything you would expect…full of shit kicking riffs and slide guitars. The vocal is magnificent….delivering a down home style that is full of the current sound of Country music…this is brilliant. Willie sounds a bit weak voiced on this track…but maybe he was added to establish credibility. This is great.

That Ain’t Country —-With a laid back swagger to the music, this is classic Country right here. Lewis delivers a higher vocal that fits the music to a tee. This is like stepping back in time and listening to the old songs. The swagger is incredible and the fact that he can turn around and sing with Staind is beyond me…this is brilliant.

Whiskey And You—-Beginning with a lonely guitar and a slight twang to the whole affair, Lewis enters with his vocal and sounds like he stepped straight put of the classic sounds of the 70’s. The drawn out words and the slight twang to the words are magnificent. Lewis tells classic tales of lost love and liquor…this is phenomenal. A true Country singer right here. The female vocal that joins on the chorus fills everything out….this is wonderful!

Northern Redneck—-Returning to a more raucous and ‘new Country’ sound, Lewis sounds more like Toby Keith when he delivers this track. It makes me long for those old fashioned deep Virginia days. But I guess the message is that the Country is alive and well in the North…indeed with music like this…it is. This is fantastic.

Mama—-With the twang of lonely guitars and the slide adding fuel to the lonely fire Lewis delivers yet another stellar delivery. The phrasing and the deep octaves that occur on certain words help with the classic Country feel. This is a sad intense track that is full of wonderful memories and reminds you of the old records your parents used to play. I am truly amazed.The chorus is the best part of this song…..I listen to this over and over….

Sunday Every Saturday Night—-This track is fun…it has the classic elements of a brilliant Country song….the sway of the music…the twang of the guitar and the lyrics of too much drinkin’ and livin hard. This is workin; man’s country. When Lewis drops his voice to a deep reminds me of Randy Travis….this is brilliant. Bars….jukeboxes…whiskey and women….who needs more?

Lost And Lonely—-Recorded in the same vein as the previous track, this is a nice fall back on the classic sound that appeals to me the most when it comes to Country music. This is brilliant….workin man’s Country that makes you appreciate Country living and had work and the loss of love. This has a whole story in a few minutes…one of the remarkable things about country music. You seem to live a whole life in just a few minutes…this is brilliant.

Story Of My Life—-A bit more jaunty and full of life, this still has the feel that leads the entire release. Lewis has that remarkable ability to drop his vocal just on certain words that adds to the feel and genuine sound There is nothing rock n’ roll about this release…this is pure Country…perhaps he is the next cross over star…watch out Darius Rucker…..Aaron is closing in.

Stuck In These Shoes—-Classic slide guitar twangs and laid back vocals that almost whine for attention bring this track to life. This is wonderful…the instruments seem more to the front of the song…allowing it an even more Nashville sound. Lewis delivers line after line of sadness and despair…but the music takes you somewhere remarkable. Really Nice!!!

I Lost It All—-The music is not as sad and forlorn as you would expect from the title of this song. This is classic though…Lewis delivers a tale of despair…loss and sadness but an underlying triumph is present through the jaunty guitar. This is wonderfully constructed….Lewis sings in a higher tone that sounds nothing like himself…this entire release has been a surprise to me.

Travellin’ Soldier—-This is confusing to me….this is not Aaron Lewis…nor does he appear on this song. Just some random lady singing a sad song about a Veteran…perhaps he is trying to give her a break…but this is odd on this release.

**** out of 5