Monday, 20 October 2008

Ministerial Conception

Their first, and dare I say it: their best!
This is the original Vinyl release.
It has been re-released on CD, but boy, it could be a completely different album!

All the way back in 1985, along with artists such as Foetus, this is really where industrial dance music begins to rear its angry, noisy head.

Ministry had already released their dour album With Sympathy, and it was perhaps due to that album receiving such a poor reception that made Al Jourgensen change his musical direction and sound.

So RevCo began as a side-project for a frustrated Jourgensen, and along with Richard 23 (Front 242), Bill Rieflin and Luc Van Acker (both jobbing musicians) a new interesting sound was developed, and with this album they made themselves very noticeable indeed.

(The band was a very multi-cultural affair; including a half-Cuban half- Norwegian, two Belgians and a North American!)

The album begins with '38': a stonking beat greets the ear, and instantly one strives to turn the volume up - this is a great album to drive to; motorways or city driving especially.

Immediately the mood is set; the rhythm section forming the tightest of industrial beats; overlayed by Jourgensen's sinister whisperings concerning his 38. This is juxtaposed alongside sampled news bulletins about a disaster occurring where the death toll is '38, 38, 38'.

So it's a bit like Paul Hardcastle's '19', only twice as good (sorry couldn't resist that one!).

Throughout the album the textures are quite thin; and the mutilayering that occurred later on in Jourgensen's career (I'm thinking of Ministry albums such as Land of Rape and Honey & The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste; and even other projects he was associated with, such as Lard)
have yet to manifest.

'No Devotion' is a classic example of this, and in some ways is not that far away from, dare I say it, chill or ambient music; similar to sounds outfits such as the Orb or Invaders of the Heart were creating in the late eighties and early nineties.
It's still industrial, but the factory is on a go slow; if you get my drift...

I guess the real hardcore sound didn't really occur until The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, and what makes this album seem lighter in its production is the lack of the metal guitar; here the bass is more prominent, creating a more dancy feel.
But this album certainly realizes the darkness and morbid elements that became so much a part of Ministry's and Jourgensen's sound and image.

The references to Union Carbide, lest we forget, refer to the North American chemical company that was responsible for killing an estimated twenty-thousand people during a leak at their plant in Bhopal, India, in 1984.

I can still remember the images shown on TV at the time.
Kids with their eyes burned out; those unable to breathe due to their lungs being scorched by noxious chemicals that were used in the manufacturing of pesticides.
Well, that's what happens when you build a chemical plant in the middle of a town; strange that it was a town so far away from their own plants back in the USA.
But that's just one of those things, I guess.

The title track for me is the most interesting, as you can really hear the studio and the new technologies of the time becoming integral to the creation of the industrial sound: lots of programming, layering and sampling; which when you think about it was fairly progressive for 1985.

Revolting Cocks - Big Sexy Land

We Shall Cleanse the World
Attack Ships on Fire
Big Sexy Land
Union Carbide (West Virginia Version)
TV Mind
No Devotion
Union Carbide (Bhopal Version)

Vinyl rip @256kbs
Get it here


Novemberer said...

Fucking GREAT album this, I played it to death as an impressionable nipper! Still got my vinyl copy stowed away at my folks' but recently picked it up uber-cheapo on Crappy Disc just 'cos I fancied hearing it again & it STILL sounds like an absolute monster...!

roy rocket said...

For Sure!
I love blatting down the motorway to it; it has that perfect white line beat...

Mr. Base explains: said...

Enjoyed your review. spot on. Big Sexy Land and some from Land of Rape...(ex. title track, you know what you are?) defy description yet somehow it's the best "music" around!