ALBUM REVIEW: Ministry - Hopiumforthemasses

ALBUM REVIEW: Ministry - Hopiumforthemasses

Legendary industrial metal act Ministry have released their sixteenth album Hopiumforthemasses through Nuclear Blast Records. According to recent interviews, front man Al Jourgensen has said this will be Ministry's final album, but only time will tell if this true, since he has said this in the past ten years and the band keeps coming back. If this truly is the band's last album, does the band end it's discography on a high? Tragically, no they don't.

The album opens with the song "B.D.E.". An acronymn for Big Dick Energy, the song is Jourgensen's lyrical take on the toxic misogyny and incel culture in America. With an almost groove metal feeling opening riff, the song keeps a midtempo beat in-between random sound clips of toxic misogyny. Jourgensen's vocals aren't super effects drenched, which is a nice change of pace. The song has an almost hybrid feel of a Monster Magnet style riff and beat, with punching industrial hits at random parts throughout the song after the gang vocals. With Monte Pittman and Cesar Soto's guitars picking up the pacing and tempo with a thrashier riff on the bridge, along with Roy Mayorga's drums creating a crossover like closing to the track.

The next track, and the first single from the album, is "Goddamn White Trash". Opening with a building synth bass line nostalgic of very early 80's Ministry. With a chugging riff, reverberated synth bass and real bass guitar, the song opens with a strong, anthemic feel. The up-tempo feel of the riff throughout the song, giving off a Rammstein feel, is an instant head bobbing energy to the song as you listen to it. With a punk rock vocal delivery at the halfway mark of the song, Jourgensen's scream vocals fit the energy and punch of the guitars in the song. With a nice fade-out of the main riff with the vocals still adding aggression, along with the shouting of the song's title closes out the song strong. The track also features a guest spot by Pepper Keenan from Corrosion of Conformity. This is probably my favorite track on the album.

"Just Stop Oil" starts off with a driving, pounding drum hit with a corresponding guitar riff with Jourgensen's vocals coming in at an almost whisper/spoken delivery. The song picks up and channels that classic sound and delivery you would hear during the band's Psalm 69-era. With an almost 50's sounding guitar solo section near the halfway mark, creating a surf rock feel to the chugging, thrash tinged feel of the song. The song is very focused and fine-tuned in it's delivery and I like it a lot. The band is strong on the track and sounds like a classic Ministry track. On "Aryan Embarrassment", the slow burn, chugging riff opens the track with distorted electronic wails behind it. The bass heavy riff breaks the pacing of the song, to an almost militaristic feel and energy, matching the song's atitude and theme. Then legendary punk front man Jello Biafra delivers his trademark vocal lisp-esque sarcastic punch vocals, followed by Jourgensen. My only gripe with the song is Biafra's vocals are a little lower in the mix, so he sometimes gets overshadowed by the music or Jourgensen's distorted vocals. Biafra has that cynicism and punk punch in his vocals and to reign that in, almost weakens his performance on the song. Also, I feel like the song is a minute too long. I think a lot of the last minute of the song's random sounds, loops and riffage almost drags the song out longer than it needs to.

"TV Song 1/6 Edition" opens with a punching, palm-mute heavy riff with electronic glitches and pounding drums. The song, about the January 6th attack on the U.S. capital, Jourgensen and crew deliver a strong and commanding track. Mayorga's drums are high in the mix and add a fevered pulse to the intensity of the riffs behind it, amidst the political sound drops throughout the track. Pittman and Soto's riff machine style of playing, keeps the pace of the song relentless and an instant pit starter when this song is performed live. I love the track and am surprised the song was not released as a single, since it's classic Ministry, its aggressive and would've built a lot of hype for the record. "New Religion" continues that punchy drum opening with a heavy, driving and aggressive opening riff. Pittman and Soto continue the pummeling guitar ferocity throughout the track on the verse. Jourgensen has a heavy, choir like delivery on some of the song, picturing almost a Sunday church service, atmospheric feel and accent to his vocals. A heavy track and a good fast-paced track amongst the satire in the lyrics.

"It's Not Pretty" opens with an acoustic guitar and dreary effects and audio quotes. The song has a one-note feel throughout the song, with just the acoustic guitars and doom and gloom atmosphere. Then around the halfway mark, the drums kick in and electric guitar kicks in as well to join the transition. To me, this is so far the weakest song off the album. It feels like they smashed two songs together and it just doesn't work for me, the song just doesn't have the same power and feel as the other songs so far. With "Cult of Suffering", the song opens with a pipe-organ, almost bluesy sounding guitar. Eugene Hütz' guest vocals open the track, creating a gritty, grimy 90's rock song with driving distorted guitars at random parts throughout the song. The song is definitely a change of pace, with Ministry straying away from the industrial metal sound to an almost hard rock/post grunge feel. Which unfortunately, doesn't feel or sound like Ministry. Giving off the impression that it's on the wrong album or it should be a Hütz' song FEATURING Ministry or Jourgensen, not the other way around. The album's closer "Ricky's Hand", a Fad Gadget cover, opens with a heavily industrial feel in the vein of the band's earliest records before the transition to industrial metal they would become known for. An 80's punching synth line and driving, reverbed heavy drums leads the song. The song has that nostaligic feeling in the production and sound of the 1980's, but for me, is kind of a weak closer and just doesn't live up to the band's performance in the first half of the record, let alone be the final closing song of Ministry's forty plus career.

With Hopiumforthemasses, Ministry's swansong release (at the time of this article) was a let down to me personally. I was bummed after the band's first "final" album The Last Sucker was announced in 2007 and the band first broke up. But that record was decent, but didn't live up to the hype that a lot of the fans wanted it to be. When their second "final" album From Beer To Eternity came out, it was the same thing, where the fans wanted an amazing final record, and it was underdelivered and didn't live up to the hype that both the fanbase wanted and Ministry was going for. That seems to be the trend with Ministry and their "wrapping it up" feel. It's like the star athlete, who retires, and then thinks that they have "one more round" in them. They try to come back and chase the glory days of that high for one last success or milestone or title. Then,  they just fail horribly or taint the legacy or career that ended in such high praise or without any blemishes or missteps. I do hope this truly is Ministry's last record, since I think the fans won't be burned by Jourgensen and company anymore. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. But at this point, the fanbase is starting to see who the true fool is.

SCORE: 5.5 / 10

1) B.D.E.

2) Goddamn White Trash (feat. Pepper Keenan of Corrosion of Conformity)

3) Just Stop Oil

4) Aryan Embarrassment (feat. Jello Biafra)

5) TV Song 1/6 Edition

6) New Religion

7) It's Not Pretty

8) Cult of Suffering (feat. Eugene Hütz of Gogol Bordello)

9) Ricky's Hand (Fad Gadget cover)

FFO: Fear Factory, Godflesh, Prong

Ministry is currently on a tour with 80's star Gary Numan and Front Line Assembly through April. If you are interested in seeing these bands live, check out for tour dates and to buy tickets or merch from the band.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to This Day In Metal.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.