The Last Sucker
13th Planet Records
After a quarter-century and various musical incarnations ranging from synth-pop fop in the early '80s to the drug-addled, industrial rock star of the '90s to the uber-political, sample-slaying 200-mph maestro of today, Ministry mastermind Al Jourgensen is ready to put the beast to bed.
With The Last Sucker, Uncle Al not only fires a parting shot in his lauded Dubya trilogy, but at the Ministry moniker as well — still, as one would expect, he isn’t going out quietly. Recorded before the recent untimely death of bassist Paul Raven (RIP), Sucker features Jourgensen and his cohorts — including Prong’s Tommy Victor — who launch another amped-to-11 blast from the start with “Let’s Go.” Jourgensen maintains his trademark vocoded rants and raves, as the steady pummeling drums, samples, guitar squeals, and solos mesh into a formula patented by Ministry over the last few years.
Still, there is a very slightly more subdued atmosphere that pervades Sucker despite its constantly heavy leanings. The samples, mostly culled from press sound bites, news conferences, and the like, are a bit more epic and drawn into the mix, creating a slightly more experimental edge to the Ministry sound. A bomb blast and echoes of “kill, kill, kill” signify the the sarcastic “Life is Good,” which harks back somewhat to the industrial rock of Ministry circa Psalm 69, as does the monstrous metal-edged title track.
Side two rarely relents, offering surprising moments including a shit-kicking, hi-speed cover of The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues,” sure to rile even the most subdued of audiences, as well as the more old-school punk-flavored “Die in a Car Crash,” featuring vocals from Fear Factory’s Burton C. Bell. And as has been Jourgensen’s MO, a Ministry record ends in epic, slow-burning fashion, this time with the quite aptly titled “End of Days (Part 1 and 2),” featuring churning guitars, arena drums and a lengthy closing sample from Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell presidential address, where he warns of the dangers of the "military-industrial complex” and posits the value of peace.
Considering our current state of affairs in the Middle East and other global turmoil, the speech represents a final call-to-arms from this industrial icon, who ends not merely picking one target in George W. Bush, but the system that surrounds him. We’re all the better for it, and with that, Ministry’s tattered, battered, and bloodied curtain closes on a high note.