Al Jourgensen "hates all" of us "m----------rs" because we're "stupid". That's fine. Anyone familiar with the man is probably used to these kind of cantankerous declarations. Read his recent autobiography and you'll find it difficult to navigate through without seeing such statements. We've heard them before, just like how this is Ministry's last album. That was supposed to be 2007's The Last Sucker. Then came Relapse last year. This time, it appears, Uncle Al really means it.
No small reason why is the death of longtime on-again, off-again Ministry guitarist (and close friend to Jourgensen) Mike Scaccia. Scaccia blazed a trail through his work with the band. His playing in Rigor Mortis inspired much of the amazing work of the past 25 years. It was his breakneck riffing that made classic songs like "N.W.O." even possible. He and Jourgensen have been an incredibly impressive team, working on industrial landmarks The Mind Is a Terrible Thing To Taste and Psalm 69, as well as Ministry's two best albums in the last decade, Houses of the Molé and Rio Grande Blood.
On From Beer To Eternity, Scaccia's work is more textured with heavy plodding and cunning picking more than just relentless thrash. Jourgensen is at his most liberal at splicing in soundbites this time around, using clips of President Barack Obama in multiple places but not quite as vitriolic as his inclusion of Los Presidentes Bush. The album plays like an amalgamation of everything that came before. First single "PermaWar" is the album's apex. It's sludgy like something off of Filth Pig but somehow better than anything on that record. It's just a perfect track with a Sabbath-esque riff behind the chorus. "Perfect Storm" follows in much the same fashion.
That's not to say that speed guitars aren't in play. The anti-Fox News rant of "Fairly Unbalanced" could exist in the Psalm 69 world had the likes of Bill O'Reilly been spewing their nonsense on such a high profile network tewnty years ago. Jourgensen barks and and crows to Scaccia's scorching play. Al takes a back seat to some female gospel vocals in "Lesson Unlearned" and it doesn't even sound that strange. "Change Of Luck" builds and builds and ends up punishing the ol' eardrums like you forget that you enjoy.
That's kind of Ministry in a nutshell. You take the abuse (both verbal and musical) because you secretly, or maybe not so secretly, love it. And if this really is the note that Jourgensen wants to end his legendary band on, From Beer To Eternity is certainly a more triumphant victory lap than the previous two go 'rounds. The visual: as he lays down his arms after waging his final war, Uncle Al takes his final bow and flip us the bird. That sounds about right.