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Ministry - Rantology Review

by DeadSun

When over viewing "career lifespans", in terms of your average musical act, three to five years is what one most frequently encounters. In rarer instances, perhaps seven to ten years. This is a worthy perspective to take into account when examining the music and creative element of an outfit like Ministry who have--- and without any significant hiatus--- been "at it" for twenty-five years and running.

This brings us to 2005's Rantology, the aptly named anthology, within which one will find a cross-bred animal, one half "greatest hits", and the other half "remixed" (with one new, previously unreleased track included for good measure). At first blush, this is clearly for the fans and the supporters... Here's to twenty-five years. The intent behind Rantology, and its difference to "Greatest Fits" (2001) is a subtle contrast--- one which some might contend is entirely too subtle. Even still, here we catch a glimpse of the current palate and prism through which Al Jourgensen altered, filtered, and selected the tracks contained in Rantology, by way of his interpretive work behind the console. For Ministry fans--- who are rarely "casual"--- Rantology then surfaces as an anthology, but with an over-arching, personal touch added to the dimension of the recording.

Of the fifteen tracks, three are (originally) from 2004's "Houses of the Mole"--- a recording utterly steeped in Jourgensen's (somewhat but not altogether) obtuse political criticisms (even for him, historically speaking), and inherently rife with bipolar sound production--- with a thrash vet of Mike Scaccia's caliber present for the "HotM" line up, the final guitar mix was surprisingly thin. With nine full length studio releases which tracks could have been culled from, one might then reasonably speculate that Jourgensen does not intend to preclude this motif from his up and coming material, scheduled for release sometime in April of 2006. This speculation is reinforced after the first few listens of "The Great Satan", the previously unreleased track, included to furnish fans with an expectational foundation for the band's next effort.

In the area of alternate mixes, some (of course) do not flow as naturally as the others. "NWO" has been updated with fresh samples of George Walker Bush's voice--- evidently the new boogey man who hides in the closet at night, and lurks around every shadowy corner. The structural alterations to "NWO" are minor and, when they do occur, sound patently choppy for a skilled performer like Jourgensen. The adrenalized, irresistible shard of lightning "Jesus Built My Hotrod" sports some new vox recordings from the one and only Gibby Haynes, a scenario which could never be a bad thing, but apart from that, offers no real rawness above and beyond the original. On the other hand, Jourgensen deftly hones his craft on Rantology's new mixes for "Wrong", "Bad Blood" and, in particular 1988's "Stigmata".

A mixed sense of blessing and curse comes with the three final tracks, which are taken from Ministry's live 2002 release, Sphinctour. The idea behind the inclusion of live Ministry, in an effort to demonstrate the band's power and energy during live performance, is obvious enough (any fan who has seen them live can attest to this). However, these are the very types who will likely own Sphinctour (either cd or dvd) already, and Rantology in no way strikes one as a release which was designed to entice new fans into the Ministry fold. This renders the effectiveness of the "live-track trilogy cap" into a somewhat tenuous selection.

Rantology may update the Ministry catalogue, formatting it to the band's present direction in some cases, but also courses with undertones of redundancy in other areas. It is a sound acquisition for fans who are completists, but in the (strict) sense of it being an anthology, may not be the most desirable choice for those looking into the band's music for the first time.

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Ministry - Rantology

Label:Sanctuary (USA)
Rating:82 points on the DS Scale

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