By Loy Fankbonner
Arizona Daily Wildcat April 3, 1996
Here's further proof that fans of alternative music will buy anything if the packaging is right. The cover of this record features a photo of a Young Republican with gnarly cold cuts on his head - subvert the dominant paradigm, dude!
Everybody know about Ministry's stint as a limp-wristed techno-pop band in the early '80s, and how it later converted to so-called "industrial music" (read: drum machines, cheesy speed metal guitar, ridiculous distorto-vocals) when it seemed profitable. The makeover endeared it to both knuckle-headed metal fans and maladjusted suburbanite creeps who fancied themselves "cutting edge." And hell, it made perfect sense: Technology + fast riffs + skulls = junk money from the "unique" demographic that simultaneously embraces the Violent Femmes, Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Dead Kennedys under the banner of "new music for thinking teens." Sure, "Burning Inside" sounded subversive and menacing when Susie Dung played it in 1990, but my precious ears were just recovering from a case of pubescent anglophilia at the time, and I was seeking something just slightly "harsher" than the Smiths.
So it boggles my mind that Ministry records are still considered a viable purchase by those who keep their fingers on the pulse of the Alternative Nation. You'd think that with Nirvana doing Meat Puppets covers and that dolt from the Offspring sporting a Germs T-shirt on MTV, some young heads might've turned onto something resembling the real thing. Instead, we get this - a fourth tired effort from a bunch of wussy Chicago junkies wearing hair extensions. Get with it, man! I mean, at least that Dexter fellow bothered to grow his own cornrows instead of buying them at the mall.
This record, as per my expectations, is even more insipid than the band's last, and it even lacks the inane, bubblegum metal cheesiness that might've made its earlier stuff a guilty pleasure for some. It's simply a boring, sprawling mess with stupid, sub-Jesus Lizard time changes thrown in for that '90s flava.
If you absolutely insist on buying a record on the basis of how "mean" it sounds, I'd suggest seeking out the Electric Eels, the Dwarves, or Throbbing Gristle, any of whom were plenty more subversive, smart, and hateful in their day than Al and his crack-smokin' buddies could ever hope to be. 'Cause really, even Juliana Hatfield could sound "scary" if she sang through a distortion box.