CD/DVD Review: Ministry - Enjoy the Quiet - Live at Wacken 2012

CD/DVD Review: Ministry - Enjoy the Quiet - Live at Wacken 2012
All Access Rating: B+

Ministry - Enjoy the Quiet - Live
at Wacken 2012
Quiet is not a word normally associated with the "godfather of industrial metal" Al Jourgensen or Ministry. Never one who's subscribed to the notion that the meek shall inherit the earth, Jourgensen has a mouth that roars and a raging band he founded in 1981 in Ministry that has only gotten more ferocious over time.

They were absolutely seething by the time the 2012 "RELAPSE" tour rolled into Wacken Open Air that year for the riotous final show of that campaign with a stage set-up that looked like an abandoned factory, ominous, dirty and ugly, the perfect home for a janitor/serial killer. A visceral, snarling performance from Ministry, this sonic hell-scape was recorded for a new double CD/DVD package titled "Enjoy the Quiet - Live at Wacken 2012" from UDR, and they scorch the earth of those darkened festival grounds in crystalline high-definition sound and video.

Combined with bonus audio and film footage of Ministry laying waste to Wacken 2006, this collection is as much about Mike Scaccia as it is Jourgensen. The longtime Ministry guitarist died five months after this last trip to Wacken, and his guitar work has rarely come across this mean and virulent. With help from guitarist Sin Quirin, keyboardist John Bechdel, bassist Casey Orr and drummer Aaron Rossi, Scacci and Jourgensen lead Ministry into a writhing, contorted aural and visual nightmare of dizzying background sounds and imagery that envelope fast, controlled blasts of atomic, churning industrialized thrash-metal fireballs such as "No 'W'" and "Rio Grande Blood." The riffage is devastating, overwhelming and relentless. 

Jourgensen bitterly vents about cheating managers and music industry corruption in a prepared video statement in the venomous show opener "Ghouldiggers," before Ministry's thickened, serrated aural attack slams through "Lies Lies Lies," "99 Percenters" and "Life is Good" as if caught up a high-speed police chase. Sensing that the audience is tired of Ministry's newer material, Jourgensen hauls out older favorites like "New World Order 'N.W.O.'," "Thieves" and "Just One Fix," and these versions are hypnotic and trashy. While blaring sirens and whistles and all manner of banging, piercing sounds make for a harsh cacophony of frenzied disturbances, Jourgensen and company plow through the fearsome noise that surrounds these songs with tight, brutal efficiency and jack-hammer guitars. 

And then there's the additional Wacken 2006 material, a hairier and wilder set that's visually exciting, if a little rough around the edges. In sharp contrast with the Wacken 2012 concert, this set, although longer, is dogged by audio problems; half of it is suffocated by high levels of distortion, as songs just seem to bleed into each other. Emerging through dense radiation clouds that obscure Ministry's bad sonic intentions, "Lies Lies Lies" and "Worthless" eventually come into greater focus and become more powerful than ever, while the dream-like "Khyber Pass" is absolutely enthralling. "Psalm 69," "Wrong" and other monstrous Ministry furies are intense and mesmerizing, as the band recovers from its confused beginnings. 

With its history of aural violence behind them, Ministry has said its goodbyes. Losing Scaccia led Jourgensen to finally drive a stake through the blackened heart of a band that was confrontational, funny, wonderfully obnoxious, stridently political and always interesting. This sick, savage world might soon discover just how much it misses them.
- Peter Lindblad

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