"Houses of the Molé"

(Sanctuary Records 2004)Ministry - Houses of the Molé

Recycling is finally catching on now that we are into the early part of the 21st Century, and even industrial rock/heavy metal veterans Ministry are in on the act. But the recycling on the latest Ministry release, "Houses of the Molé" is not of the let's-feel-good-about-saving-the-earth variety. Rather, the entire album recycles Ministry's catalog in a way not unlike how cars were rebuilt into war machines in the Mad Max series of movies.

When "Psalm69" came out, Ministry was railing against one Bush, that is, George Bush Senior. "Houses of the Molé" is basically an angrier "Psalm69" for the next generation with its attacks on GW and popular American culture in general. Samples of GW speeches are played throughout the album. The first song, "Now," plays heavy metal riffage along with a sample of "O Fortuna" from Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana," while George Bush says "Evil, evil, evil! Psalm 23," along with other choice samples. The next song, "Waiting" features samples of old sermons and more heavy metal guitar/double bass drum attack.

Al Jourgensen sings in typical "Psalm69" fashion, and all of the songs keep the fast tempo of earlier Ministry albums. Gone are the dirges of "Filth Pig" and "Dark Side of the Spoon," but some elements from those albums remain, such as the general feeling and tempo of "World." Keeping recycling as a theme, Ministry recycles their own material as well. "WTV" on "Houses of the Molé" equals "TV2" from "Psalm69," and even the idea to parody a classic rock album title was recycled in a way. ("Dark Side of the Spoon" was a play on Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon," "Houses of the Molé" is obviously a play on the title of Led Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy") The title parody isn't the only classic rock element on the album. The song "Worthless" has a section that lifts the main riff from Kansas's "Carry on Wayward Son." Brilliant!

With the re-election of George Bush Jr., this album gets at least another four years of political relevance. "Houses of the Molé" will keep Ministry relevant to harder music fans, too, as it features some of the loudest beats and best guitar work of any Ministry album. How can a band go wrong sticking to its own formula? AC/DC had been doing just that for nearly 30 years!


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