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Classic rock gets heavy
metal hack-job

Ministry & Co-Conspirators - Cover Up
(13th Planet Records)
1 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Feb. 18, 2008

Review by Tony Bonyata

It's funny, but I actually used to really like Ministry. From the industrial electronic mayhem of their 1986 Twitch LP to their transitional album two years later, The Land of Rape and Honey, which saw them dipping their toes into the heavy metal cauldron before ascending into the pure hardcore metal of A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste and 1992's Psalm 69, all of these albums witnessed this band going through their own artistic metamorphosis. Even the limp-wristed synth pop of their 1983 debut With Sympathy wasn't without charm - even if it's an album that band leader Al Jourgensen has admittedly detested ever since its release.

I'm not sure of the exact moment when Ministry took their nosedive, but if my memory serves correctly it was around the time of their '96 Filth Pig album. Since then Jourgensen and company have been churning out moronic, mind-numbing hardcore metal that, all too often, sounds like a self-parody of the genre. But, again, this was a band that I had once admired (considering they were one of the few bands that were creating interesting music during the mire of the '80s). So when I read that their latest and, allegedly, last album was what Jourgensen was referring to as their 'party album' and featured songs from rock's golden of era of the '60s and '70s, I couldn't resist.

Even with a stellar line-up of song choices from the likes of T. Rex, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, ZZ Top and Deep Purple, Cover Up manages to fail. I'd like to think it's because many of these classics couldn't possible be bettered, but in reality it's how Ministry so aptly proves with their heavy-handed, thick-skulled bludgeoning of classics like The Stones' "Under My Thumb" and The Doors' "Roadhouse Blues" that their versions come off more like Spinal Tap, only without the punch lines.

While there are a couple of moments of interest here, as witnessed on their version of Golden Earring's "Radar Love" and Deep Purple's "Space Truckin'," they're soon forgotten with the plodding hack-job on Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay," originally from their Filth Pig album, along with the abysmal dirge-like take of Louis Armstrong's hit "What A Wonderful World."

Ministry's supporting tour - which, along with this album, is supposed to be their last - is cheekily entitled the "C U LaTour." After a run of lackluster heavy metal albums, however, this is definitely one "I L D-Tour."

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