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Albums Of The Week: Ministry | Moral Hygiene

Al Jourgensen stays in his discomfort zone on his latest topical industrial manifesto.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “After incubating for the larger part of 2020 — at time when creative mastermind Al Jourgensen was able to ruminate on the new world we as a society have found ourselves in — the time has finally come for Ministry to unleash their 15th studio album, the aptly titled Moral Hygiene.  A followup to 2018’s lauded AmeriKKKant, the 10-track set puts forth Jourgensen’s societal manifesto and plea for civilization to get back to a set of standards that lives up to and embraces our humanity.

“The good thing about literally taking a year off from any social activity or touring is that you really get to sit back and get an overview of things as they are happening, as opposed to being caught up in the moment,” Jourgensen says. “And what I saw with how we handled several public crises — from the pandemic to racial injustice to who we vote in to lead our country — is that times are changing, and society needed to change to get away from the idea that has permeated us of take care of yourself, fuck everything else. Now more than ever we need moral hygiene. It consumed me as I wrote this album. It’s not some pious term. It’s what we have to return to in order to function as the human species on this planet. And I’m proud to have had such great guests on this album to help cement that message like Billy Morrison, Jello Biafra and Arabian Prince.”

Born in 1981 in Chicago, Ministry has been the lifetime passion project of Jourgensen, considered to be the pioneer of industrial music. In its early days, Ministry were identifiable by their heavy synth-pop material, which fell in line with the new sounds and technology that were being developed in the ‘80s. Ministry’s output began with four 12” singles on in 1981, followed by their first LP in 1983. As time progressed however, so did Ministry, quickly developing a harsher and more stylized sound soon earned them infamy via seminal albums Twitch (1986), The Land of Rape and Honey (1988), and The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste (1989). With the release of Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and The Way to Suck Eggs (1992), Ministry hit an all-time high in the mainstream musical realm and received their first Grammy nomination. In total, Ministry have been nominated for six Grammy awards. Eight more albums would follow before an indefinite break in 2013, only to be unearthed again in 2018 with AmeriKKKant, continuing to reflect Jourgensen’s views on the frightening state of society and politics.”