May 18, 2006

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Ministry, Rio Grande Blood
13th Planet Records, 2006

Beyond qualifying for pole position as 2006's best metal album of the year, Rio Grande Blood is a political pit bull, straining at the leash that's relegated the recent protest euphemizing of Kent State antiques Joan Baez and Neil Young to the sidebars of Entertainment Weekly. This meticulously QC'ed death wish barges in with the eponymous track, a Megadeth-type WMD filled with found bits of George Bush's own fearspeak mashed to pulps that cover all the ground armchair anarchists have been waiting for: "We went to war because of crude oil," "I'm a dangerous, dangerous man," and so forth (Young's album was reported to indulge in a similar exploit as this piece flew off to edit-land, but either way Jourgensen never partook of a "Let's Roll," so flip-flopper accusations won't stick). “Gangreen," this year's crushing doom-rock incarnation of "Dead Guy," doffs its helmet to the troops, coming complete with an insult-spewing drill sergeant (the promo CD doesn't indicate whether the sarge is Full Metal Jacket's Lee Emery, but he's a dead ringer). Jackhammer drum samples carry the band's bread-and-butter industrial edge, cranking the 28 Days Later I.V. drip a few notches. 2005's Grammy winner for best metal tune, "The Great Satan," is inserted for your own good, after which Jello Biafra goes funhouse conspiracy-barker over a sped-up "Looks That Kill" riff on "Ass Clown." A

— E.W.S.


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