Ministry - From Beer to Eternity
13th Planet
Industrial Metal
11 songs (54:43)
Release year: 2013
Ministry, 13th Planet
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

The creation of From Beer to Eternity was surrounded in enough tragedy, after guitarist Mike Scaccia's death late last year, to partially distract you from the fact that it was yet another 'last ever Ministry album'. I've believed Al Jourgensen each and every time in the past when he's declared an album to be the last thing the band does, so forgive me for cynically assuming that From Beer to Eternity won't be the last thing we hear from Al. Let's hope not, because it would be an even shoddier way to go out than last year's disappointing Relapse! I had low expectations for From Beer to Eternity from the moment I heard the album title, and the cover art unveiling didn't raise my hopes – both are crappy, and that the album itself isn't absolute crap is down to two things: 1. my fanboyish adoration of classic Ministry and 2. my patience with avant-garde experimentation.

Sadly, no, this isn't a return to the inspired aggression of the thrash-fuelled firebrand Ministry that we had during the George W years. It's not even a rerun of the sludgy drug-fuelled Clinton years. Instead, it's a continuation of Obama Ministry; disappointment after disappointment, until weary acceptance and the wait for it all to be over. I think history is going to be kind to Ministry and Al, not least for continuing life as a musician when most normal men should have retired long ago, and so I think history will duck extended discussion of From Beer to Eternity. Full of samples, old-school cuts and shuffles and plain ol' weird noises, this is the most old-school sounding Ministry has been in years. Yet that's not a good thing, chiefly because the songwriting and lyrics are pretty terrible, to the point where they would seem rushed and thrown-together were it not for the complex layers of industrial effects over everything.

Opener Hail to His Majesty is Al telling his listeners (critics? Fans? Everyone?) he hates us and wants us to suck his dick, but at least has an interesting structure beneath the lyrics and moments of riff-fuelled rage – Al can make a good industrial song when he wants to, that's for sure. The following Punch in the Face introduces some decent riffing, but the lyrics are repeated variations of 'you need a punch in the face' and the track is definitely dragging by the end. A note of energy is injected from then; Permawar is probably the album highlight, seeming like a sludgy, mid-paced version of something from one of the 'W' albums, full of righteous indignation about wars for profit and even has some harmonica thrown in under it all. Perfect Storm continues in much the same style, if slower initially before finally kicking into a thrashy gallop near the end with a solo much appreciated. Twenty minutes into the album, it's definitely needed, and Fairly Unbalanced continues with a hate-fuelled tirade about the dreadfulness of Fox News.

It comes off the rails completely thereafter, however. The Horror is a nightmarish set of samples constructed into a piece about pregnancy and rape, leading into Side FX Include Mikey's Middle Finger, which starts with demented sped-up riffing and yelling and ends with avant-garde cut-up samples from the parts of drug commercials where they list the side effects. Lesson Unlearned's backing female vocals make it sound like a lesser KMFDM tune, and the eight-minute Thanx But No Thanx opens with a reggae dub and Al's Sgt Major character reading out William S Burroughs' Thanksgiving Prayer before opening up into a midpaced chugger. Change of Luck has an Eastern feel with strings and hand-percussion-y programming, building up to a more typical Ministry pounder, and finale Enjoy the Quiet is quite literally a wall of noise. That's it! Ministry is gone again, yet I wouldn't at all be surprised to get a reformation and a new album next year, let alone come 2016 and a Republican White House. Ministry fans might well wish for a Chris Christie presidency just to get some fire back in Al J, although he's already in his late fifties; given the past I expect him to go until he drops, and much respect to him for that. Let's hope any future endeavours are better than this, however – again, I've been generous in scoring.

Killing Songs :
Permawar, Change of Luck
Goat quoted 60 / 100
Other albums by Ministry that we have reviewed:
Ministry - Relapse reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Ministry - Psalm 69 reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Ministry - Filth Pig reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Ministry - Cover Up reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Ministry - The Last Sucker reviewed by Goat and quoted 93 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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