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Ministry - Rio Grande Blood Review

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Brutal, aggressive, pounding, and merciless are just a few adjectives I'd throw out there right off the bat when speaking about Rio Grande Blood, Ministry's 500th studio album or so since the long denounced (and often way, way overlooked), '80s pop-synth spectacular With Sympathy, which is about as far to the left as you can possibly get from the hostility that is Rio Grande Blood.

Okay, first of all, let's get the comparisons out of the way, because that's what ultimately happens anyway to such great albums. Most important to note, fans and critics alike are way too quick to compare this to Psalm 69. Yes, lots of heavy drum beats and plenty of layered guitars, but this material hails back to the greats, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste and the ultimate pinnacle of Ministry greatness (in my opinion), The Land of Rape and Honey. Wayward pitch shifting yells as found in "Gangreen", the melodic chorus in "Lieslieslies", Rio Grande Blood chants found in the opening track which sounds like something straight from "The Missing" or "Deity", and The Great Satan, in its original form found on Rantology, sounds like a cut track from Land of Rape & Honey. And of course, Uncle Al has George W. sound byte manipulations down to an absolute science, and I believe this makes Bush album number three if I'm not mistaken.

Upon first listen one could and probably have made the conclusion that there are no live drums here, and that everything is electronic. One would be wrong. Seeing them play this set live will make you change your thinking on this. Yes, there are certainly drum machines at work here like there have been on most Ministry albums, but not exclusively. Fellow Prong and Killing Joke rockers certainly add to the elements, but they don't make the album. Al is still large and in charge. And Barker? Two albums later and he's apparently still not missed. In fact this may be the best material Jourgenson has made since Barker has departed.

I digress. Rio Grande Blood is petty and seductive when it needs to be (Kyber Pass), harsh and unrelenting when it needs to be (Senor Peligro), and both at the same time (Fear is Big Business). If you remade Greatest Fits as Rantology, lit it on fire and shoved it up your ass, you would only get a taste of the power of Rio Grande Blood. Partake my friends. You can thank Al later.


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Ministry - Rio Grande Blood

Label:13th Planet
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