Dark Side Reviews

This one was sent by Verne:

 Dark Side is musically somewhere between Psalm 69 and A Mind is a
Terrible Thing to Taste,
- .of course there is very little chance that Ministry will ever again
sound like their Twitch or In Sympathy
recordings. The guitars on this album are as deep and heavy as on
their Filth Pig album but the tempo is more upbeat
(if you could use that word to describe Minstry). Though Al and Paul
are pretty much set in their ways, they did
manage to throw in some fresh ideas. The banjo and sax in Nursing Home
make for one of the first hillbilly
industrial jazz songs. And even stranger, Minstry uses some standard
blues rock guitar riffs on this album
esoecially in  "Step" and "10/10".  Ministry has an interesting mix
between electronic industrial and more traditional
hard rock or metal sounds. Where Filth Pig may have leaned a bit too
close to the metal spectrum for some, this album is more
balanced to what fans expect of the band.

P. Colyette has posted a review that he wrote himself:

    I believe that Ministry has changed their sound
prematurely, because they had a hard sound in the Taste and
Psalm69 cds.  The sound was full power and craziness.  Now
with Filth Pig they change to for the most part to a heavy
metal with a sound that few would appreciate because it's
been done before.  Now with the Spoon cd, it starts off with
a strip down Ministry tec. sound. Which I could vibe off
of.  Bad Blood was a sound that should been where Ministry
should took of at after Filth Pig.
        I'm from Chicago and I've listen to Ministry for
over 15 years.  In my opinion, I believe Al and Paul should
cut back on the drugs and take their health and their music
more seriously.  They are the pioneers of this sound but
they seems like they don't care anymore about the music like
they use to.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a life long fan.  I
thought they would be big time by now.  They done a lot of
great work from Cold Life to the 69, but they're slacking.
I am hoping for something better next time.

Samuel Townsley, has sent me this review from
San Diego's Union-Tribune's "Night and Day" Section:

   With its tongue-in-cheek nod to Pink Floyd's seminal "Dark Side of the 
Moon" album and reference to drug addiction, this nearly hour-long 
industrial cacophony is relentless.  Along with Metallica, Ministry might be 
the smartest metal-sounding band around.
     Guitarist-vocalist Al Jourgensen knows that if it ain't broke, don't 
fix it, even though most of the band's material is by its very nature 
shattered and dissonant.  Ministry sticks to what it does best: nihilism and 
alt-rock angst.
     From the opening track, "Supermanic Soul," to the closing cut, "10/10," 
Jourgensen and bassist Paul Barker, guitarist Louis Svitek and drummer Rey 
Washam crank up the volume.  What is different on the new album is the 
slightly Middle Eastern flavor of tracks like "Nursing Home" and "Kaif," and 
the gallows humor laced through "Step." Ministry's theatrics and manic, 
all-or-nothing approach are an acquired taste.  But the band's sense of 
experimental mischief can't help but rub off on you--whether you like it or 
The album was given 3 1/2 out of 4!

This one was sent to me by Christian Permin (written by Sandy Masuo)

With a title that sardonically flaunts main man Al Jourgensen's status as the William Burroughs of the rock world, you might
expect Ministry's latest to be a wickedly confessional concept album. And while Dark Side of the Spoon brims with grim
imagery and tales of harrowing angst that revolve around an addiction theme ("Bad Blood," "Supermanic Soul," "Whip or
the Chain"), for the most part there's nothing on it we haven't heard before. Yet Spoon isn't entirely a retreat to the harsher
ground that preceded the strangely mellow vibe of 1996's Filth Pig. Entwined with all the familiar gargling vocals and jagged
edges are just enough subtle twists and turns to stir some wry intrigue into the mix. 

Several tracks are tinged with a psychedelic feel -- though it's more "eye of newt and toe of frog" than "incense and
peppermints." "Whip or the Chain" escalates from a moody calm to a throbbing drone as foreboding as a bad trip, and "Vex
and Siolence" opens crisply syncopated and spare but is soon suffused in an acid-drenched buzz. The seething stew of
distorted vocals and rumbling rhythms that makes up "Eureka Pile" is spiked with pungent guitar lines and trilling
Middle-Eastern-style backing vocals courtesy of Yvonne Gage. 

Elsewhere, oddly jazzed-up undercurrents and off-beat instrumentation surface. "Nursing Home" jolts into motion with fat,
grating guitar riffs counterbalanced by placid banjo plucking and something that sounds uncomfortably like a dentist's drill.
Eventually the track unravels into a bracing cacophony of clattering drums, squalling sax (wielded by Jourgensen himself)
and grinding guitars that careens around the unflappable banjo. Even more startling than this free jazz flirtation is the swingy
"Step," which opens like a warped Tijuana Brass striptease number, then degenerates into a train wreck of twisted metal
guitars and anguished saxophone squawking-all without losing its rhythmic lilt. 

Engaging as these explorations are, they won't topple The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste or Psalm 69 from the pinnacle
of Ministry's achievements, but they do suggest the group may find life beyond Dark Side of the Spoon. 

-- Sandy Masuo 

Again, sent from Christian Permin

Ministry entered the studio in 1997, determined to
make an album that would be a complete departure
from their six previous releases. By the sound of it
things didn't go quite the way they planned: After
scrapping their initial demos, the band settled on
nine new songs that feel more or less like a grand
imitation of their own past efforts. From the
lead-off "Supermanic Soul" -- a mélange of
demonically hoarse vocals, steady drumbeats and
distorted guitars -- to Goth-inspired numbers like
"Kaif" and "Vex and Siolence," Al Jourgensen and
Paul Barker (along with a roster of noise-loving studio cronies) have 
essentially regurgitated the same brand of gruff industrial rock they dropped 
on the mainstream during the late '80s and early '90s.
 When they try for more conceptual crunch pieces ("Step" is about a recovering
addict who makes insincere apologies for his bad behavior -- a curious topic in
light of Jourgensen's own well-publicized drug problems), the stammering
vocals, heavy high-hats and greasy guitars make Minstry sound like a lesser
Jesus Lizard or Butthole Surfers. "Eureka Pile" is the album's only moment of
true vision, combining spoken word with erratic buzzes, chants and cymbal 
crashes to create an eerily dissonant mood piece. In the end, it's a shame to 
see a band that once helped pave the way for such neo-industrialists as Nine 
Inch Nails,Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie trade innovation for self-imitation.
 -Jeff Niesel, Sidewalk


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