Ministry – Moral Hygiene (Album Review)

The Industrial band Ministry is back with their latest album, the follow-up to 2018’s AmeriKKKant. Entitled Moral Hygiene, it is set to be released on Friday, October 1, 2021 through Nuclear Blast Records.

And just as one would expect, Moral Hygiene is nothing short of political. A provocative collection that is apt to be controversial, it comes with 10 songs, including one cover of a 1973 Iggy Pop and the Stooges’ track. It all kicks off with “Alert Level,” where, after a strong beginning, the music continues with a repetitive “Let’s get ready!” chant that will set the mood for the listener.

Then, “Good Trouble” offers some surprises, with an audience cheering towards the end of the song, although this is not a live album—merely a live recording of this particular song. Continuing this theme, “Sabotage is Sex” includes warrior chanting and sirens singing, which gives the song a very mystic and medieval touch. 

Clearly addressing ‘fake news,’ “Disinformation” sets the stage for the most melodic song on the LP, “Search And Destroy,” which is also the Iggy and The Stooges’ cover. During its chorus, the listener can find a more clean and clear melody than on any of this album’s other tracks. Then there are the highly political tracks, “Believe Me” and “Broken System,” while “We Shall Resist” asks listeners to make up their own minds instead of blindly believing the lies.

The album’s clear cut COVID-19 song, “Death Toll,” is an ode to those who have lost their lives throughout the global pandemic. But don’t think Ministry have gone soft: they close the album with “TV Song #6 (Right Around The Corner Mix),” filled with TV excerpts from the news media, as well as interviews. Mixing in hard and heavy riffs, they end a tough album with tough tunes; leaving the listener behind with a heavy mental load to sift through, guaranteeing that the listener will not be able to easily shake off what they have just experienced.

In this, Moral Hygiene pretty much sums up the past two years with all its ups and downs—or downs and downers, if you will. These songs perfectly reflect the heaviness we have all faced throughout the past two years, as well as the unspoken insecurities and worries about what the future might bring—and it only touches on the impact on the people and politics. Of course, climate change takes a toll on all of us, but Ministry leaves this discussion for another time.

As Ministry is known for political rioting, so to speak, it should come as no shock that Moral Hygiene is a both a very controversial and highly political album, wandering a landscape that falls somewhere between George Orwell’s 1984 and the global political climate of the past two years. Regardless of the music, not everyone will agree with what is said. But for those who do agree, mastermind Al Jourgensen has crafted an interesting piece of art for listeners to enjoy. For this, Cryptic Rock gives the album 4 out of 5 stars. 

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