Jan-Simon : Following the umpteenth comeback and the passing of guitar player Mike Scaccia it seemed Al Jourgensen had finally put Ministry to rest. It turned out to be not so final as it appeared at first. “If there is a really good reason I will restart Ministry”, the front man and personification of Ministry said about two years ago. He may have foreseen (or feared) what was about to happen in the US. After his “W” trilogy in which George W. Bush was Jourgensen’s favourite punch ball, any thinking person can imagine on which side Jourgensen stands. Al was angry with “dubya” and all that president stood for, but on 9 November 2016 he was furious. Outraged because a country, a people could elect someone so unqualified to its highest office. On that very day Jourgensen reanimated Ministry and began work on what turned out to be one of the most politicaly charged albums of the band. The fourteenth album ‘AmeriKKKan’t’ is released five years after ‘From Beer To Eternity’ and continues the path that was set out on that album. That trend is that Ministry slowly but steadily goes “Full Circle”, using more and more of the old electronic sound from the early years of the band, more than thirty years ago. Whether this is because Scaccia is no longer there to fill in his signature mean industrial guitar riffs, who knows. In any case there are still industrial style guitars, but also many samples, keyboards and even a nudge to the sound of gothic post-punk heroes Killing Joke.
‘AmeriKKKan’t’ starts off with ‘I Know Words’, a dark paste-up of distorted quotes from the very first social media president set against an abstract electronic wall of sound that makes Trump’s contextless sentences even more frightening then they were when they were supposed to make sense. Of course this reminds of the process used in ‘No W’, the opening track of ‘Houses of the Molé’ that follows the same path using George W. Bush quotes only in a much more metallic way. All that comes next has the same basic approach. Many Trump quotes, combined with stingy lyrics from Jourgensen. Like in ‘Twilight Zone’, where we hear Trump cry out “How stupid are the people of this country?” followed by Jourgensen sort of replying “The truth is under arrest, this is the twilight zone”. Many of the other songs, especially ‘Wargasm’, ‘Antifa’ and ‘Game Over’ have a similar ominous undertone. It is obvious, for many Americans these are grim times and there should be grim soundtrack to that. That’s what ‘AmeriKKKan’t’ is, even though it is not even the hardest and loudest album Ministry has ever produced.
Remains one final question: is it not too late for an album like this? Trump has been in office for 14 months already and his erratic behaviour, his rudeness and indifference for anything that is not Trump have become the new normal. Except for a group of hardcore Trump haters everybody tries to get on with life as much as possible, without being distracted by the madness coming from the White House. As a political statement or call to action ‘AmeriKKKan’t’ will not be very successful. As a way to blow of some steam it is definitely very adequate.