Sunday, 9 March 2008

Album review - Ministry - 'Cover Up'

If I’m not out on the corner, I’ll usually be up in my kitchen, kicking back with my life partner, maybe eating some porridge while sitting on my inflatable exercise ball. More than likely some tunes will be blasting out of the 4” speakers on my Dell laptop with Intel Pentium processor, as Windows Media Player lines them up. There sure are a lot of albums to choose from, but if I’m looking for something we can both get along with, something that complements the view out the back door to the garden and the bird-feeder, chances are I’ll be playing Cover Up, the new covers album by veteran industrial rockers Ministry.

Truth be told I haven’t been checking for Ministry since the halcyon days of Psalm 69 and Filth Pig in the early-to-mid-90s, but the track-list of this new long-player got me fiending for sure. It bears a striking resemblance to Heavy Metal: Superstars of the Seventies, a brilliant vinyl compilation, on the Warner Special Products label, that I picked up at a car boot sale some years back. It’s an intriguing compilation, from a period when Warner’s roster was getting big enough that it felt like coining new genres and targeting niche markets - fans of countrypolitan, critically-approved easy listening, Woodstock acid-folk and heavy metal in particular. The compilation drew together under the ‘metal’ bracket a motley group that included the likes of Dr. John, Eagles, Yes and Delaney & Bonnie alongside more conventional names like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Hendrix.

Cover Up shares two songs with the aforesaid compilation: T-Rex’s ‘Get It On’ and Golden Earring’s incomparable ‘Radar Love’, the pinnacle of Dutch civilisation. They also take on the Doors (‘Roadhouse Blues’), Deep Purple (‘Space Truckin’) and Sabbath (‘Supernaut’), all of whom appeared on Heavy Metal. Mountain’s ‘Mississippi Queen’, ‘Lay Lady Lay’ and the Stone’s ‘Under My Thumb’ also get snarling, hi-NRG re-workings. Throughout the album, Ministry’s ability to drum really fast, to play super-distorted shredding guitar solos, and to snarl and shout remain undimmed. Unsurprisingly, ‘Space Truckin’ makes an appearance.

This is a gloriously, unrepentantly stupid album: the closing cover of ‘What A Wonderful World’ recalls Joey Ramone’s swansong version, and rivals it for pointless indulgence and celebration. Apparently, this is also Ministry’s swansong after twenty-seven years of unpleasant single-mindedness. A fine way to go out.

Ministry – ‘Radar Love’

Golden Earring – ‘Radar Love’

Buy Cover Up


No comments: