18:30 // From GBP 35 adv.
After enduring a year like 2020, no one could have possibly expected Al Jourgensen to stay silent on the maelstrom of the past 12 months. As the mastermind behind pioneering industrial outfit Ministry, Jourgensen has spent the last four decades using music as a megaphone to ral-ly listeners to the fight for equal rights, restoring American liberties, exposing exploitation and putting crooked politicians in their rightful place-set to a background of aggressive riffs, sear-ing vocals and manipulated sounds to drive it home.
As Jourgensen watched the chaos that befell the world during the height of a global pandemic and the tensions rising from one of the most important elections in American history, he seized on the opportunity to write, spending quarantine holed up in his self-built home studio-Scheisse Dog Studio- along with engineer Michael Rozon and girlfriend Liz Walton to cre-ate Ministry's latest masterpiece, Moral Hygiene (out October 1 on Nuclear Blast Records). Anchored by last year's leadoff track 'Alert Level'-which asks listeners to internalize the question 'How concerned are you?'-the 10 songs on this upcoming 15th studio album cover the breadth of the current dilemmas facing humanity, while ruminating on the sizable impact of COVID-19, the inevitable effects of climate change, consequences of misinformed conspiracies and the stakes in the fight for racial equality. And most importantly doing so with the lens of what we as a society are going to do about it all.
'The one good thing about taking a year off from any social activity is that you really get to sit back and get an overview of things as opposed to being caught up in the moment,' says Jour-gensen, 'and what became inevitably clear is that the times are changing and this past year has been a wake up call-and that's a very good thing. Because society as we have known it the past few decades has needed to change,' he continues. 'Ever since Reagan and the girth of Wall Street, we have become too close to the belief that greed is good. Society has really taken a dark turn and now we are bearing the fruit of that that misdirection driven by the idea that it's all about me and not other people and to take care of yourself and fuck everything else. We now more than ever need moral hygiene. It's what we have to return to in order to function as the human species on this planet.'
Moral Hygiene comes on the heels of Ministry's acclaimed 2018 album AmeriKKKant (hailed by Loudwire as Jourgensen's own 'state of the union' address) that was written as a reaction to Donald J. Trump being elected president-though Jourgensen says this new album is more informational and reflective in tone. 'With AmeriKKKant I was in shock that Trump won. I didn't know what to do, but I knew I had to do something. Because I believe if you are a musi-cian or an artist you should be expressing what's going on around you through your art. It's go-ing to happen whether you do it consciously or unconsciously. Moral Hygiene however has progressed even further into a cautionary tale of what will happen if we don't act. There's less rage, but there's more reflection and I bring in some guests to help cement that narrative.'
In addition to recruiting long-time cohort Jello Biafra (Jourgensen's partner in the side project Lard) for the quirky earworm 'Sabotage Is Sex,' other guest appearances include guitarist Bil-ly Morrison (Billy Idol/Royal Machines) on a rendition of The Stooges hit 'Search and De-stroy.'
There's also the riotous track 'Good Trouble,' inspired by the message of activism and social justice in John Lewis' posthumously published essay, released by New York Times after the Congressman's passing last July.
'I remember watching the coverage of his death and the next day seeing this entire letter from him come out and thinking not only is John Lewis a Civil Rights icon but he was so astute to think of how that legacy could fit into the progress of the future,' says Jourgensen. 'That letter was so heartfelt and his words were so much aligned with my own ideals I just immediately knew I wanted to dedicate a song to him. That track really is the moral backbone of this album.'
Another standout track is 'Believe Me,' featuring a throwback vocal style from Jourgensen that harkens back to his singing on Twitch and cult classic '(Every Day Is) Halloween.' The song came out of a jam session with Morrison, Cesar Soto and sampling from Liz Walton, and re-minded Jourgensen of his formative days at Chicago Trax Studios where communal ideas were constantly informing early Ministry records. ''Believe Me' had such an old school vibe I wanted to bring back old school vocals.
Artists: Ministry, The 69 Eyes
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