Thirty years and 12 albums into a career of euphoric highs and stupefying lows, MINISTRY have created Relapse, their heaviest, most eclectic and most inspiring offering to date. “This record’s really good and I never say that about my own shit,” Jourgensen declares. “Not only is it the best record I’ve ever done, I’d put it in the top 50 records of all time. Usually, when I finish a record I never want to hear it again. I can’t stop listening to this one, and that says something.”
With 16 million records sold worldwide, six Grammy nominations under his belt and kudos from industrial bands that have followed in his wake, including Nine Inch Nails, Slipknot and Korn to name a few, Jourgensen has earned the right and garnered the credibility to judge the quality of his own material.
“The funny thing is I didn’t even want to do another MINISTRY record,” Jourgensen says. “I was working on my stoner country album by Buck Satan & the 666 Shooters, and [guitarist] Mikey [Scaccia] and I started messing around with these heavy riffs just as a change of pace. And then we realized the stuff we were coming up with were totally MINISTRY. Mikey was like, ‘Dude, we’ve gotta do something with this. We’ve gotta make another MINISTRY record.’ And I went along kicking and screaming.”
The voice of protest for generation anarchy, Jourgensen remains madder than hell and unable to stifle the poisons that possess him. Ten years clean and the recent recipient of a complete blood transfusion, the unruly Texan and his nefarious posse have rebounded with a new energy and determination that re-establishes their dominion at the top of the industrial metal hierarchy. While Jourgensen’s messages are blunt, they’re also colored with black irony – the words of a bedraggled street prophet laughing as his apocalyptic predictions come to light.
“In the past, I’ve always been about five years ahead of the curve with my lyrics,” Jourgensen says. “This time, I think I’m right on track and in the present. These songs are about the world we live in today and ugliness of what’s out there behind our front doors.”
For the album, Jourgensen called up Prong frontman Tommy Victor and ex-GWAR bassist Casey Orr and Static X bassist Tony Campos and reapproached the band by alternatively working with two teams (Scaccia and Orr on one side, Victor and Campos on the other).
“Basically, Mike and Casey would come in and do a bunch of stuff and then we’d have the other guys in,” Jourgensen says. “Having the two teams gives the music a fresh feel because everyone has their own style and is doing something slightly different, and at the same time everyone’s on their A-game because they know they know the other guys are going to be at their best as well.”
The collaborative approach leant Relapse much of its character and diversity.
“We’ve never done a record like this that takes on so many different styles of music,” Jourgensen says. “But whether it’s slow or fast or technical or whatever, it’s all totally MINISTRY.”