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Ghost Canyon

Title - Bad Blood: The Mayan Albums (2002–2005) [4CD]
Artist - Ministry

For those unaware, Ministry was formed in Chicago, Illinois, in 1981, by singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Al Jourgensen, releasing their debut With Sympathy in 1983.

By the end of the 1980s Ministry had morphed from their original synth-pop sound to become pioneers of industrial metal.

On January 7th, 2022, Ministry will bring us Bad Blood: The Mayan Albums (2002–2005), a whopping 4CD set via HNE Recordings (Cherry Red Records UK) and which contains four classic albums from Ministry’s time at Sanctuary imprint Mayan (for all fans of Nine Inch Nails and White Zombie).

CD 1: Sphinctour (2002)
1. Psalm 69 (Live at Elysee Montmarte, Paris)
2. Crumbs (Live at Congresscenter, Stuttgart)
3. Reload (Live at Convention Center, Albuquerque)
4. Filth Pig (Live at The Varsity Arena, Toronto)
5. Just 1 Fix (Live at Aragon #2, Chicago)
6. N.W.O. (Live at The Palladium #1, Los Angeles)
7. Hero (Live at Gaswerk, Hamburg)
8. Thieves (Live at Mercer Arena, Seattle)
9. Scarecrow (Live at Jesolo Beach Festival, Venice)
10. Lava (Live at Dour Festival, Brussels)
11. The Fall (Live at Brixton Academy, London)

Disc One is 2002’s Sphinctour captured their live sound across a series of dates on their 1996 tour to support the Filth Pig album; recorded straight to DAT tape from the mixing desk, without any further mixing or studio trickery.

Al Jourgensen was joined on this tour by long-time Ministry collaborator Paul Barker on bass, Reynolds Washam on drums, Duane Buford on keyboards, Zlatko Hukic on guitar and Louis Svitek on guitar.

The 11-track live album includes Psalm 69 from the Elysée Montmartre in Paris, Just One Fix taken from the famed Aragon Ballroom in their hometown of Chicago and NWO at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles.

In truth, I don’t really get why this recording stayed unreleased for so many years before it finally saw the light of day a few years back, because for as good as it is, there was nothing special about it to warrant such a darkened existence thereafter.

For me it perfectly captures a highly energetic Ministry set in 1996 on the Filth Pig tour. Obviously half of the playlist is Filth Pig and the other half is Psalm 69, but the show also includes the old staple Thieves.

Highlights here include the final three of the night re: Lava, The Fall and the brilliant Scarecrow (and three long ones at that), but it’s the hits such as N.W.O., Hero, Psalm 69 and Just One Fix that truly get to the musical heart of the matter.

I am not too sure why they decided to leave off the set-list their überhit Jesus Built My Hotrod, especially given that it is their signature cut, but nonetheless, all the songs are played as raging beasts, with the samples, vocals and guitars doing their job brilliantly at all times.

CD 2: Animositisomina (2003)
1. Animosity
2. Unsung
3. Piss
4. Lockbox
5. Broken
6. The Light Pours Out Of Me
7. Shove
8. Impossible
9. Stolen
10. Leper

The second disc is Animositisomina from 2003 AND WHICH was their eighth studio record, and first studio set for Sanctuary/Mayan, and features nine original tracks, plus a cover of Magazine’s The Light Pours Out of Me and was the last album to feature Paul Barker.

Whenever a notoriously drug-infested musician cleans up, it’s worth listening to the before-and-after output for comparative value. Ergo, Animositisomina was the first recording of Jourgensen’s since his public proclamations of being sober at that time.

And thankfully, for the most part, back in the studio with local partner in grime Paul Barker, Ministry wields its dirty thunder like the days of yore.

I say for the most part, as the familiar chain-drive sound crunches through the first of 10 tracks, but that may be all that’s intact. Gone are the voiceovers and samples à la N.W.O. and Just One Fix that defined Ministry’s once-groundbreaking industrial core and without a hint of the brilliance of Jesus Built My Hotrod.

Animosity kick-starts the album with traditional Ministry roar, but undistinguished songs such as Stolen, Piss, and Unsung are little more than variations on a theme that tires quickly.

CD 3: Houses Of The Molé (2004)
1. No “W”
2. Waiting
3. Worthless
4. Wrong
5. Warp City
6. WTV
7. World
10. Psalm 23
11. Walrus

The third disc here is actually their ninth album overall, Houses Of The Molé which saw the band move away from a purely industrial sound to a more thrash metal style. Anti-George Bush in theme, Ministry mainstay Jourgensen saw it “as something of a rebirth”, being the first for some years to not feature Paul Barker.

The scene back then was a bombed-out wasteland. Emerging from the soup-heavy smoke was the oversized head of George Bush and Jourgensen, for one, had not forgotten 1992’s N.W.O. with its scathing satire and molten riffage.

So it this time returned as No “W”, a send-up of the infamous choir-piece from Carmina Burana, and which perfectly kicks off Houses of the Molé, the new Psalm 69. Sure it was the same game for Jourgensen and local stickman Max Brody, but nobody plays it better (especially given the departure of longtime Austinite/bassist Paul Barker.

In my humble opinion, 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!

I mean, come on now, Waiting is a dead ringer for Thieves, at the very least, well, that is until 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, which is actually 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!

CD 4: Rantology (2005)
1. No “W” (Redux)
2. The Great Satan
3. Wrong (Update Mix)
4. NWO (Update Mix)
5. Stigmata (Update Mix)
6. Waiting
7. Warp City (Alternate Mix)
8. Jesus Built My Hotrod (Update Mix)
9. Bad Blood (Alternate Mix)
10. Animosity
11. Unsung (Alternate Mix)
12. Bloodlines
13. Psalm 69 (Live at Elysee Montmarte, Paris)
14. Thieves (Live at Mercer Arena, Seattle)
15. The Fall (Live at Brixton Academy, London)

The fourth disc is the band’s final release for the label, 2005’s remix compilation Rantology which included one new track, The Great Satan, which is joined by unique updated mixes of Ministry classics N.O.W., Stigmata and Jesus Built My Hotrod, featuring the Butthole Surfer’s Gibby Haynes.

As aforementioned, Rantology features an updated version of N.W.O. in which voice clips from George W. Bush are added along with the original voices of his father George Bush Sr. (who was president at the time of the original recording).

Personally, I really didn’t notice all that much difference in the (apparently) remixed classic Jesus Built My Hotrod other than the new introduction provided by Butthole Surfers front man Gibby Haynes.

The track Unsung (originally from Animositisomium) has bagpipes and other sound effects added as well as other sound effects and some different vocals that act as interpretations of the events of 9/11.

Bloodlines is taken from a track that Jourgensen did for the video game Vampire: The Bloodlines and really sounds a lot like the track So What from A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste.

For No “W” (Redux) (a re-working of a track from Houses Of The Molé), a new operatic aria featuring Martha Cooper is added to the intro and for the track Stigmata, this one gets a total re-working with all new vocals and some new guitar tracks as well as a remixing of the existing ones.

For the live tracks, we get three songs that were recorded during the 2002 Sphinctour with Thieves Live In Seattle, Psalm 69 and The Fall. Finally, we get Al’s new scathing attack against George W in The Great Satan, in which he labels him as the man who will likely be responsible for the fall of mankind!

Official 4CD Purchase Link