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'The Land of Rape and Honey' occupies a grey area - is it metal or is it not? There are riffs, guitar solos, and general heaviness in evidence; and yet this is unconventional, original stuff. Guitar is swathed and embalmed in layer upon layer of digital processing, reducing it to a mewling and broken thing that resembles nothing on this earth; these anitmusical strains are augmented my sythnesisers, drum machines, samples and thunderous bass.
What makes this album so fatally compelling is that Ministry's electropop roots are still in evidence; yet these very roots have been peverted by something foul and sickening that rots them from the inside. Vocals sneer in their extreme nihilism; distorted, multitracked, processed in every possible way. Lyrics are savage, brutal and uncompromising. The music creates an atmosphere of savage menace; the percussive, heavily industrial metal pulse of tracks such as "Stigmata", "The Missing'", "Deity" and "I Prefer" contrast with the bleak and anti-musical drone of "Flashback", "Destruction", the title track and my personal favourite, the throbbing and horrific "You Know What You Are". Guitar solos appear frequently, but they are often atonal, shrieking, squalling - they are not so much sequences of notes as the screams of mankind being torn savagely apart.
This album will not be for all; the sounds here are so relentlessly cold and bleak they will likely alienate many metalheads used to more conventional material. Ministry, especially on this album, are at a direct point between industrial noise music and metal; it is the sound of the apocalypse. Back in my younger days (I should point out I was a fan of death and thrash metal at this point) this album shat me up so badly I couldn't listen to it for a long while - this is one of the true sounds of evil. Highly recommended to those looking for something off the beaten track.