Jan-Simon : Is this it? Is this really the “yes-sir-scout’s-word-of-honour-and-I-won’t-change-my-mind” final album by Ministry? Al Jourgensen is certain of it, but to be honest, we do not believe him anymore. Still there are plenty of reasons to assume it is for real this time.
The foundation for ‘From Beer To Eternity’ was laid in three weeks in December 2012 by guitar player Mike Scaccia. Three days after he unplugged his guitar he drew his final breath. He died with his boots on, during a gig with his other band Rigor Mortis on December 22nd 2012, just 47 years old. Scaccia formed the core of Ministry together with Al Jourgensen and according to Jourgensen there could not be Ministry without Scaccia.
When the mourning was done, Jourgensen took the recorded tracks, finished them and called the final result ‘From Beer To Eternity’. Another poor pun, thus making it a suitable title for a Ministry album. Musically however it is a whole different beast. OK, the rampaging barrage of industrial metal interspersed with samples of world leaders from present and past is still there and we immediately associate it with Ministry, but the album also has a couple of songs that might fall in the category “poppy”, for crying out loud! There is also more electro than usual, compared to the more recent “Dubya” albums and the latest outing ‘Relapse’ . It is as if Al Jourgensen has wanted to close the circle by combining the familiar Ministry sound that has been around since ‘The Land Of Rape And Honey’ with the earlier electronic dance-pop from the first two albums originally released in the early 1980s. Ministry fans who joined in later and only know classics like ‘Stigmata’, Jesus Built My Hotrod’ and ‘N.W.O.’ will probably scratch their heads and wonder if they really have the latest Ministry record in their player, but those who are less narrow-minded can hear a radio friendly popsong in ‘Lessons Unlearned’. Who would have thought this about Ministry in 2013?
The album’s versatility – some will call it lack of direction – makes ‘From Beer To Eternity’ one of Ministry’s lesser accessible albums, which might sound strange after the earlier conclusion that this may be a Ministry-light. But the absence of the predictability that surrounded each Ministry-album since ‘The Land Of Rape And Honey’ will make that this album will not immediately enter the top 5 of most liked Ministry albums. Yet, I think this might be an album that will grow in time and some day may very well be recognized as one of Al Jourgensen’s better efforts.