100% HEAVY / 100% Free / 0% Spam

MINISTRY: “Hopiumforthemasses”

Share This:

Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 01.03.2024

Words by Greg Walker

“So, what was once forbidden becomes fringe, and what was fringe becomes mainstream”.

And thus begins Ministry’s upcoming State Of The Union report Hopiumforthemasses, and perhaps aptly describing what Ministry has morphed into in later years: a project that was once considered fringe and venomous is now mainstream, spouting limp trendy generic agenda slogans and taglines like “big dick energy”, “toxic misogyny”, “I’m not just a vagina”, “crazy far right” (all in just the one song). Not even having Dead Kennedys legend Jello Biafra guest on Aryan Embarrassment lends legitimacy to singer Al Jourgensen’s attempts to insert a semblance of lyrical relevance into this latest offering of social judgement. Having said that though, this latest slab is musically a better effort than most of Uncle Al’s outings going way back to 1992’s Psalm 69.

Hopiumforthemasses’ three lead singles Goddamn White Trash, Just Stop Oil, and B.D.E. (Big Dick Energy) are intended to be thrust forward as scathing vitriol, however the resulting lyrical effort comes across as tired political posturing just because. It doesn’t feel genuine anymore, it feels like this is just what Ministry does, so Al looks at the angle of the moment “…because our lyrics are pretty sarcastic and politically charged” – Al Jourgensen doesn’t come across so much as an advocate as simply throwing around buzzwords.

Having said that, B.D.E. has a stomping riff, the track riveted together with faction catch cry samples and a sweet little mid-tempo almost thrash excursion for a bridge. It’s an enjoyable listen despite the childish simplicity of the “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” chorus; Al presents himself as more intelligent than the average Joe, therefore I expect a bit more in the lyrical department. Goddamn White Trash is a rocking almost Just One Fix-ish groove, which isn’t the only throwback to Psalm 69, with a sly “Connect the dots” inserted mid song. Just Stop Oil had me thinking of what a metal Midnight Oil might sound like, which is not bad at all.

The aforementioned Aryan Embarrassment launches as though it was heavily borrowed from Slayer’s iconic Season In The Abyss, just not as classic. It does open up with Jello Biafra’s patterned delivery, mimicking the primal stomp riff. Jourgensen himself is no vocal virtuoso, however throughout Hopiumforthemasses he is strong, concise, and on brand.

TV Song holds its own with a thrash tempo, maintaining its pace from go to whoa. New Religion contains a sample boasting “This is the biggest riff going” and it is pretty sweet, if not the biggest. The first half of It’s Not Pretty is ominous, a biblically sized echo vocal over a simple guitar busting open to an 80s style rocker that is typically twisted into something that seems but really isn’t pretty. Cult Of Suffering is a theatrical jazzy effort complete with sax and pomp juxtaposing the intention of Al’s lyrical message.

Closing with a cover of Fad Gadget‘s Ricky’s Hand, it’s not unironically the best track in this collection, getting an upgrade boasting a beast of a tweak to the main riff chunk in the chorus. Priding himself on twisting phrases to create clever album titles, Hopiumforthemasses is possibly Al Jourgensen’s most clever wordsmithing on this album. Unfortunately, Al’s trope is worn out for this listener, no matter the arguable legitimacy of some of his agendas, it’s become ho-hum more of the same. But musically this is a great album, more comprehensive than Ministry’s recent discography, and very easy to enjoy.

Hopiumforthemasses is entirely listenable and will get spun in my house more often than any Ministry since 1992, which is almost not at all. But it does make me pine for Psalm 69, which I’m about to enjoy again right now.

Discover more like this on HEAVY:

Our Picks.

Get the HEAVY

Get the HEAVY Digi-Mag in-boxed weekly. 100% HEAVY / 0%SPAM.