This is my second Ministry album but it’s an earlier one. As with so many other bands that I’ve approached backwards, this one doesn’t quite do it for me in the way that the later one did, but…
Though arguably only three tracks on this record qualify as “industrial metal” my understanding is this record is possibly the second industrial metal album ever. (That actually doesn’t hold up to much scrutiny if you start reading more than just the genre’s Wikipedia article, but it’s still pretty early.)
Even when the guitars are not present, there’s a lot of heaviness to this record (sometimes just from what sounds like multiple drum machines overdubbed on top of each other). Having not heard earlier Ministry I don’t know how it compares but even Jourgensen is apparently on record as saying this is really the “first” Ministry record, so it seems safe to assume that they were considerably less heavy before this.
The production has dated rather a lot – as you might imagine for a record so dependent upon cutting edge technology – but actually not quite as much as I thought. Yes, it sounds early ’90s but it’s not as classically early ’90s as some records from around this time (except when that Fairlight shows up). (I am thinking particularly of funky drummer bands and some of the pop hip hop from the time.)
Having heard a fair amount of the music this band (and this album) influenced, I feel fairly confident rating the record higher than I want to. The band would get better produced as technology improved – and, presumably Jourgensen got better at his particular niche – and I think that has a lot do with why I prefer later Ministry. (Also, more guitar later.) It’s a pretty important record even if it doesn’t quite move me.