Ministry - _Houses of the Mole_
(Sanctuary, 2004)
by: Xander Hoose (8.5 out of 10)
Barely a year after the somewhat disappointing _Animositisomina_, Al Jourgensen again tries to regain the glory and fame of what was once the powerful Ministry. Having lost his friend and drummer Paul Barker, _Animositisomina_ was a farewell to the experimental and laid-back sounds that Ministry had been pursuing on _Filth Pig_ and _Dark Side of the Spoon_, and a much-awaited return to the straightforward aggression of the early days. Unfortunately, the album didn't deliver what it was supposed to, because the tension was lacking. The songs were aggressive, but sounded too outdated.

For _Houses of the Mole_, Alan seems to have actually listened to what his fans wanted. From the majestic opening sound of "No 'W'" to the last hidden track of the album, we find Ministry in excellent form. The sound is once again completely guitar-based, up-tempo and laden with hyperfast tense drum patterns. Another element that has found its return to the album is the use of samples: mostly excerpts from television shows or George W Bush speeches, it is obvious that Alan is trying to point out the rights and wrongs of society for us. Intriguing is that almost every song on the album starts with a W, except opener "No 'W'" -- which is a clear reference to Al's aversion against Bush. "Warp City" and "WTV" are definitely the fastest songs Ministry has done in over twelve years, the latter referring to "TV#2" of _Psalm 69_. The only downtempo song on the album is the closer "Worm", again another Ministry tradition. And as if that wasn't enough, we are treated to two bonus tracks. #23 (Psalm 23) is an alternate outtake, and #69 (another tradition) named "Walrus" is a weird distorted sample.

_Houses of the Mole_ sees the much anticipated return of Ministry to a scene from which it had long been driven away by newer bands; I can gladly say that Ministry is once again fighting for its crown position as one of the most extreme industrial bands, and I can only hope Alan will stay on the right path this time around.

(article published 16/6/2004)

5/11/2008 J Smit 7.5 Ministry - Cover Up
9/26/2007 J Smit 7.5 Ministry - The Last Sucker
3/15/2006 J Smit 8.5 Ministry - Rio Grande Blood
4/11/2003 X Hoose 6.5 Ministry - Animositisomina
6/11/2008 J Smit Ministry / Pythia Adios Muchacho
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