Reviewed by Michael Chamy, Fri., Sept. 3, 2004
MinistryHouses of the Molé (Sanctuary) Twelve years ago: The scene was a bombed-out wasteland. Emerging from the soup-heavy smoke was the oversized head of George Bush. Al Jourgensen, for one, has not forgotten 1992's "NWO," with its scathing satire and molten riffage. It's back as "No W," a send-up of the infamous choir-piece from Carmina Burana, and it kicks off Houses of the Molé, the new Psalm 69. It's the same game for Jourgensen and local stickman Max Brody, but nobody plays it better. Last year's Animositisomina was but a warm-up for Molé, which convincingly resurrects the punchy balance of mischievous samples, machine-gun percussion, and the relentless, pummeling guitars that once defined heavy industrial rock. Maybe it's the return of the Bush family to Iraq, maybe it's Jourgensen getting his head straight, or maybe it's even a wake-up call via the departure of longtime Austinite/bassist Paul Barker. Whatever it is, Houses of the Molé is signed, sealed, and delivered so powerfully that one can overlook the fact that it's basically Psalm 69 or The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste Part II. Second track, "Waiting," in fact, is a dead ringer for "Thieves." Until, that is, the "Jesus Built My Hotrod" riff erupts. "Worthless" (eight out of nine songs start with W!) has the same rat-a-tat rhythm, wailing guitars, and apocalyptic samples as "Just One Fix." Not a problem, because when it's delivered this effectively, Ministry can be every bit as riot-inducing as they were during the Wax Trax! industrial revolution.