Ministry - _The Last Sucker_
(Thirteenth Planet, 2007)
by: Jackie Smit (7.5 out of 10)
So this is it then: twenty six years, eleven albums and enough illicit narcotics to kill a fully grown water buffalo, and _The Last Sucker_ is how Alain Jourgenson is going to say goodbye. You can see the logic behind it, too. By his own admission, Al is electing to follow the inspiration behind some of his most poignant work off into the proverbial sunset. And yet, for all the exposition that preceded it, when the final notes of this swansong ring out, even George Walker Bush seems to have gotten off with little more than a bloody nose.

As for the rest of us; our parting gift is a record that's fantastic at times and curiously underwhelming at others, thanks in no small part to an asperous second act that fails to come within sniffing distance of its two most recent predecessors. It's not even a case of the album's final clutch of songs being of inferior quality, either. The trouble is that across the board, these tracks feel distinctly more suited to a B-side compilation than the last hurrah of one of heavy music's most influential acts. A cover of The Doors' "Roadhouse Blues" demands attention, but sounds out of place in light of the sublime intensity of the record's opening salvo. "Die in a Crash" invites similar criticism, with its overtly punk overtones, while the two-part closer in "End of Days" simply feels flat and tacked on.

For the first half hour of _The Last Sucker_ however, the band are at their raucous, obstinate best. "Let's Go" is a vicious, if straightforward statement of intent. "Watch Yourself" digs deeper, harking back to futuristic onslaught of vintage Ministry, while "Life Is Good" allows the band's more traditional metal aesthetics just enough breathing room to ensure that the song is virtually choking on its own belligerent bile. The title track likewise spits its politically impelling acid with all the class you'd expect from an act that has weathered countless trends and will be remembered long after several others have been and gone. It's just a crying shame that the rest of the album should lack some of that peerless swagger.


(article published 26/9/2007)

5/11/2008 J Smit 7.5 Ministry - Cover Up
3/15/2006 J Smit 8.5 Ministry - Rio Grande Blood
6/16/2004 X Hoose 8.5 Ministry - Houses of the Mole
4/11/2003 X Hoose 6.5 Ministry - Animositisomina
6/11/2008 J Smit Ministry / Pythia Adios Muchacho
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