Ministry has been exciting crowds for more than three decades now. Essentially comprised of mastermind Al Jourgensen and a revolving cast of regulars, the band is currently touring in support of its recently-released album Amerikkkant. Their stage show is similar to what its been for years now, with skeletal props littering the stage and a mind-bending multimedia show to go along with each song. The stage is flanked this time around by two enormous inflatable chickens that bear a crossed-out Nazi swastika painted on their fronts. Never one to skirt controversy, Jourgensen wears his politics on his sleeve, but you don't need to be in line with his politics in order to enjoy his metallic-tinged industrial onslaught. Here are five reasons to see Ministry on this tour.
1) Who knows how many more chances you'll have.
As a band, Ministry has retired at least twice previously. Though the reasons for those had a lot to do with the health issues Jourgensen was experiencing at the time, as well as the untimely death of longtime guitarist Mike Scaccia in 2012, the long-term prospects for Ministry are unclear. Though Jourgensen seems to be in good health and spirits, the fact is he does turn 60 this year, and you never know if or when Jourgensen will hang up his microphone for good.
2) Music with a message
Jourgensen is not one to be subtle about his politics. From lyrics to album covers to stage props, it's not difficult to see where his sentiments lie. In fact, some of his best music seems to come from his opposition to political figures, and the new album, Amerikkkant , is something of a treatise against the state of politics in America today. Regardless of which side of the aisle you're on, though, seeing Ministry live can be a cathartic thrill ride. Shout along the lyrics to "Wargasm" or "N.W.O." and feel the purge.
3) Burton C. Bell
Fans of industrial music know vocalist Burton C. Bell from his legendary work with Fear Factory. Bell contributed vocals to "Wargasm" on Ministry's new album, and he's currently touring with the band. While he's only coming out for a couple of songs per night, they're easily highlights of the concert. It's amazing to see two industrial legends spewing bile onstage together.
4) The Mix of Old and New
Ministry's been around for awhile. Their best-known period may have been the late 80s and early 90s, when A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste and Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs were released. But, a couple of retirements aside, Jourgensen and Co. have never stopped making new - and vital - music. The set list generally starts off with 21st-century fare from the new album, From Beer to Eternity and even back to 2004's Rio Grande Blood. Jourgensen doesn't skimp on the early classics that made the band's name, though, pulling out songs like "So What" and "Stigmata" to please the fans that have been with him since the early days.
5) Al Jourgensen Is a Force
While Jourgensen's personality has always been strong, he did go through a period not too long ago when the same couldn't be said for his health. Struggling with a bad case of hepatitis and facing life-threatening ulcers, Jourgensen was often seen walking with the help of a cane and didn't seem as energetic as usual. Now, though, he seems to be in good health, and it shows in his stage presence. He prowls the stage, barks into his microphone and megaphone, and generally has fun with his bandmates. It's a classic return to form for the legendary frontman.