I still wonder at what point among my coming across this record did I realize ‘Amerikkkant’, the new release by industrial metal outfit Ministry, was oppressively terrible? Was it the hackneyed, edgy album title you’d see sketched in a 7th grader’s notebook among other, equally terrible album names? Was it the mediocre album cover featuring a boring, dystopian city backdropped over a face-palming Statue of Liberty? Was this album conceived by a 13-year old?
Everything going into this record was seethingly unpleasant, so much that I before I even had a chance to listen to the record the question of “Why is everything about this so bad” stung every nerve in my body. From the media build up by band leader Al Jourgensen to the cringey press release featuring the heroic tale of Al Jourgensen cornering a politician in an airport to feed his half-baked opinions down his throat. Airports are stressful and bad enough, politics are unappealing, Ministry is bad, and to top it all of you have Al Jourgensen cramming his freshman-level political concepts into your ear for up to an hour.
Imagine being in that situation.
You don’t have to, if you don’t want to, because ‘AmeriKKKant’ puts you in that corner. You too can feel the existential dread of that very same politician as you slog through an entire album’s worth of low-rate song writing and lyrical content on a level worse than the anti-Trump effort by Green Day. To be clear, music rooted in political discourse can create some of the greatest content. Look at Megadeth, the Dead Kennedys, even Metallica had a go at it and it was a blazing success. That’s because those albums employed a fun little trick called “temperament”, even Dave Mustaine employed a certain sense of level-headed songwriting at his angriest.
But, ‘AmeriKKKant’? Seriously?
The initial presentation of ‘AmeriKKKant’ is unattractive to the point of repulsion; there is no actual, in-depth discussion and analyzation of social-political ideologies. It’s an actual 40+ minute record of Al Jourgensen screaming “I don’t like this!” over and over again into your ear. It’s not the most stimulating record, nor is it listenable by any means; it’s stupefying to be exposed to this dimwitted foot-stomping passed off as a record for even one full track. This is less an album and more a collection of samples, Al Jourgensen being at such a creative loss towards voicing his distaste of the American system that he simply slaps voice samples of U.S President Donald Trump from various media bits as well as other randomized jargon onto his tracks and calls it a day.
Given that the concept of the record is painfully one-note, it follows that the music would be as well. The first track, ‘I Know Words’, is painfully awkward to listen to, the main feature of the song being a Donald Trump voice sample. I don’t understand, if they hate him so much why make him the number one feature of your anti-Trump record? It’s not even that they talk about him, they just slap his own voice onto the songs and build their songs around him. Not only is it lazy and creatively bankrupt, it’s completely ass backwards.
I had the pleasure of reviewing Municipal Waste’s latest record, an outspoken anti-Trump record, and they got by just fine at framing their distaste without making him a feature. I don’t under why Ministry couldn’t go the same route instead of using Trump as a tent-pole for Jourgensen’s shameful attempt at tackling a serious issue. It’s almost like a child attempting to throw their two cents into an adult conversation and exposing a serious lack of understanding.
Ministry dedicates an entire track to a harmless internet message board, and the track ‘Antifa’ outwardly worships an extremely radical, violent political group in a way that makes it obvious Jourgensen is leagues out of his political depth.
Industrial metal is one of the few genres that will forgive unskilled musicians, and even then, punk musicians around the world hold themselves to a higher songwriting standard than Al Jourgensen.
Ministry takes a swing at writing an album with serious, impactful themes and undertones, and ends up with ‘AmeriKKKant’; a record that provides such a poor presentation and understanding of political discussion you’d think Jourgensen would fit right in as a politician himself. Instead of presenting a platform for discussing issues important to society, Al Jourgensen uses Ministry as a microphone to cry into for close to an hour. The drums sound good though.
– by Ryan Falla
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Record Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: March 9 2018
1. I Know Words (3:14)
2. Twilight Zone (8:03)
3. Victims Of A Clown (8:18)
4. TV 5-4 Chan (0:49)
5. We’re Tired of It (2:48)
6. Wargasm (6:19)
7. Antifa (4:56)
8. Game Over (5:01)
9. AmeriKKKa (8:30)
Total Duration: 47:58