Classic Album Review – Ministry “The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste” 1989
In 1989 Ministry were at their height of their powers. The band’s live show swelled to a dozen personnel including two drum kits and three vocalists working together in an industrial bacchanal of cross-pollination. Mind/Taste is the studio document of that time, a near-perfect collection of everything that Ministry has going for it.
By rejecting the guitarist-as-architect ethos, Ministry first proved what famous frenemy Trent Reznor would take to the next level: that the big noise wants to be made, and it’s not only loyal to the five-piece rock band in the tour bus – it’s just as happy escaping into the world through the push of a sequencer’s button. Don’t let me mislead you (if by a very long chance you aren’t familiar with The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste), this is a metal record, and in many ways a more elegant and richer rock document than their later riff-addicted speed racers. The seething political indictments have just the right amount of inspecificity to keep the record timeless without losing the raw anger. That’s the real success here – the ability of the material to hold up through the years coupled with massive cross-over appeal. If it’s a genre or scene remotely concerned with giving society the finger, this record has its hooks in it.
Legendary moshpit openers “Thieves” and “Burning Inside” open the gates wide for us to enter the party and mingle. Taking a tour of the premises, you can find Chris Connelly holding court in the kitchen, Ogre making a mess in the living room, some K. Lite rap happenings on the patio and an all-star drunken singalong with everyone piled in the bathtub and Bill Rieflin banging on the radiator. Into every room, interrupting everyone, filling glasses and demanding to know your fun-status come charging our hosts Luxa and Pan. Once they’ve determined you’ve had enough, they gently ask you make sure everything’s OK with your sleeping buddies in the chill-out room before you go. It’s an evening well spent.
Although largely predicated on the contributions of its guest artists, Mind/Taste should earn some praise for Ministry themselves. After all, theirs was the party everyone wanted to be at. It was the right record at the right time, before the scene split to its sludge and coldwave opposite poles, meaning than anyone could claim this Back in Black of industrial records as their own. 10 out of 10
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