Ministry rounded off their career in September 2013 with the release of From Beer To Eternity following the death of guitarist Mike Scaccia late in 2012. The band had recorded most of the album, with Scaccia, and it was completed by bandleader Al Jourgensen and Sammy D’Ambruoso from these sessions.
Unfortunately, while it is clearly a noble attempt to utilise the band’s final studio sessions, and pay tribute to the guitarist, the result is, at best, a mixed bag of the kind of sounds Ministry have made since their switch from electronica to more industrial material in the late 1980s.
From Beer To Eternity starts out with some more electronic tracks than their recent output before the riffing metallic guitars come back to the fore, all with a good dose of samples and Al’s distinctive vocals laid over the top.
Unfortunately, this all makes for something of a turgid retread of the past and, while the lyrics are still dealing with issues, from war to climate change to Fox News, they lack the frantic precision of everything from NWO to Double Tap and it has the feeling of issues dealt with by rote rather than with real originality.
A hint at Al’s darkly comic side does come through on Fairly Unbalanced, but without the biting urgency of the past.
Then comes Side F/X Including Mikey’s Middle Finger (TV 4). It is here that we get a sense of why this album is, maybe, not as conceptually tight as it might be as it sounds like the sonic evocation of grief, through the Ministry filter, as it seems to deal, in a way at least, with the passing of Mike Scaccia.
Following this we go back into usual Ministry territory with Thanx But No Thanx that is something of a State of the Union address, Jourgensen style, but, like much of the rest of the record, rather than feeling like it wants to make a change it seems more content to tell us the state of things and is too tired to really do anything about it anymore.
With Enjoy The Quiet, a solid wall of industrial noise, Jourgensen leaves us in typically uncompromising style and, while the album as a whole is maybe not a success it is certainly an uncompromising vision and, I was left with the impression, that this is the record Jourgensen wanted to make which leaves Ministry with a real sense of legitimacy and integrity, if not a particularly good record.