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Gig Review: Sydney – Ministry + Godflesh

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Godflesh + Ministry
Metro Theatre, Sydney
27 February, 2015
Review by Gary Grim

The Metro in Sydney packed out quickly in anticipation of witnessing two bands that were forerunners in the industrial metal scene. It’s no wonder because it’s not everyday you get to see two trailblazing acts whose music helped set the scene for the likes of Fear Factory, Nine Inch Nails and many more.

The first of these two acts, Godflesh, took to the stage wordlessly. The band’s mastermind, Justin Broadrick, gave a brief nod to the audience in recognition of their braying for some music before setting about tuning his guitar. Then, suddenly, the drum machine erupts into the beat for Like Rats from arguably the band’s most popular album, Streetcleaner. It is almost inconceivable that the crushing sound of Godflesh’s music can come only from two musicians, Broadrick on guitar/vocals and G. C. Green on bass, and a drum machine.

These songs have a very cold and machine-like undercurrent to them. The electronic drums and bass almost sound like pistons and gears, very precise and making it clear that the label “industrial” is very fitting to their sound. Broadrick’s guitar parts are sometimes in keeping with the precision of the rhythm section but at other times they can be wild, jagged and discordant providing a sense of chaos within the order. Add to this pained, angry vocals as well as the bleak imagery being projected behind the band and this Godflesh set was a very intense experience indeed.

It has been twenty long years since Ministry have toured Australia with a few cancelled appearances heightening their fan’s expectancy almost to breaking point. However, if the crowd in attendence within the Metro on this night were anything to go by, absence makes the heart grow frenzied. I know it’s a cliche but it was certainly true on this night; the excitement in the air was palpable as the beginning of the Ministry set drew near. When the band took to the stage with Hail To His Majesty, they got an uproarious welcome from those gathered. Uncle Al Jourgensen was certainly hailed as he set about showing us what we had been missing out on for the past twenty years.

Jourgensen was just as crazed, sinister, enigmatic and entertaining as you could ever hope him to be on the stage. He was certainly a captivating presence as he spasmed, bellowed, grooved and put his all into his performance. As compelling as Jourgensen was, though, he would have fallen short if it weren’t for the solid band he has behind him. The combination of all of these band members brought the fire and the ferocity needed to do these songs justice in the live setting.

The main bulk of the set consisted mostly of songs off of From Beer to Eternity and Rio Grande Blood which got the pit going like crazy. Just when I thought the crowd couldn’t get any more wild, out came N.W.O. from the legendary album, Psalm 69 To make the moshers go even more nuts, Just One Fix from the same album followed closely behind with a brutal guest vocal appearance by Burton C. Bell of Fear Factory. After couple of tunes from The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste and a short encore, Ministry left the Metro stage victorious and the audience left without a doubt in their minds that these guys were worth the wait. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait twenty more years to see them again.

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