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Rhythm & Views

Ministry

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If Michael Moore is the anti-Bush icon of the movie industry, then consider Ministry's front man Al Jourgensen that of the music industry.

Having recorded 1992's Psalm 69 as a statement against the first Bush in office, Jourgensen has returned with Houses of the Mole.

This time around, Jourgensen was left alone to record Houses. Ministry's longtime bassist and programmer, Paul Barker, left the band after their 2003 tour.

The most instantly noticeable observation of Jourgensen's anti-Bush protests is that all track titles on Houses prominently feature the letter "W." A programmed Orff's Carmina Burana introduces the opening track "No W," before a possessed Jourgensen growls "Ask me why you're feeling screwed and I'll give you the answer / There's a Colon, Dick and Bush just a hammerin' away."

Throughout Houses, Jourgensen programs past speeches from the president to fuel his lyrics.

During "Wrong," following a clip of President Bush saying, "Tonight, I have a message for the people of Iraq," Jourgensen continues, "Go home and die."

"I can't even go to sleep / Voices in my head repeat stay awake, stay awake," Jourgensen screams in "WTV." A sequel to Ministry's "TV Song," commercials--as well as presidential addresses--are inserted throughout the song.

The listening experience of Houses is at once cold, intense and hilarious.

At times, the multi-metered sounds on the album tend to run together, inducing monotony. Nonetheless, Jourgensen's intellect and passion-filled lyrics drive Houses to a level of greatness that Ministry has not achieved in more than a decade. Industrial metal combined with hard punk doesn't get much better than Ministry's latest effort.

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