FROM BEER TO ETERNITY
Ministry has been retired before, but this time might really be it. With the death of guitarist and collaborator Mike Scaccia just three days after the initial sessions for FROM BEER TO ETERNITY were completed, this might just be the final statement that Al Jourgensen wants to make to the world under the moniker of "Ministry". If so, he goes out in very strong fashion. While certainly not the best Ministry album, FROM BEER TO ETERNITY is an angry effort that is every bit as reminiscent as anything Jourgensen and company have done.
One of the true joys of my professional life as a radio guy was an on-air debate I had with Jourgensen back around 2005 or so to argue politics. At that point, I was a hard leaning conservative, while Jourgensen proudly waved the flag of a liberal democrat. We battled on the air - yelling and screaming at each other our positions on war and world economics. Jourgensen spent three full albums bashing former president George W. Bush. So, to be honest, it's pretty surprising to hear a song like "Permawar" where he's now taking some serious smacks at President Obama. No argument from me. In all honesty, I think the two of us might have grown up enough now to understand that there is no "good" or "bad" party...just bad politicians on both sides of the aisle. FROM BEER TO ETERNITY seems to be more steeped in the Alex Jones philosophy of the Illuminati taking things over. Listening to songs like "Perfect Storm", you can hear it in the lyrics about population control and environmental destruction on the world. Throughout all the messages, you get some killer metal mixing it up. Guitarists Sin Quinn and Scaccia bring the now defined Ministry industrialized guitar sound to each and every song, with material like "Punch In The Face" and "Lesson Unlearned" just ripping your face off. Vocally, Jourgensen sounds pretty much like he has over the last several albums - gravelly but not quite as deep and effect enhanced as he did in the heyday of the band. That makes it that much easier to digest his messages. The frenetic "Fairly Unbalanced" cracks hard at the media and the Republicans, and it's easy to get this from both Jourgensen's lyrics and the most appropriate clips toward his message that he could find. It works.
PITRIFF RATING - 86/100 - FROM BEER TO ETERNITY is what you would expect from Ministry - a politically charged, punishing industrialized metal album that's as strong musically as it is in it's message. While you may not agree with all his politics (I don't), you can't deny that the presentation is such that even the most casual metalhead has to take notice of it. If this is the final release from Ministry, they go out with a bang.