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Ministry > Dark Side of the Spoon > Reviews > astraldeadhead
Ministry - Dark Side of the Spoon

Dark Side of Ministry - 84%

astraldeadhead, November 19th, 2023

Dark Side of the Spoon is an often overlooked album in Ministry's discography... if it gets attention at all it's typically due to "Bad Blood". But Dark Side of the Spoon offers much more. It showcases a darker, moodier sound compared to much of Ministry's other offerings from the period, while still retaining the anger and aggression typical to Ministry.

Al's shift to clean vocals on tracks like "Whip and Chain" and "Kaif" makes the album feel more dynamic, without getting too overbearing. Paul Barker's bass work on the album is thick and sludgy, and shines on tracks like "Eureka Pile", "Nursing Home", and "Kaif". From the album's start with the angry, thrashy anthem of "Supermanic Soul" to the controlled chaos of "10/10" (with a rare but welcome saxophone presence), Ministry showcases a unique blend of styles and sounds that feels neither overbearing nor too redundant of previous material. The songs are diverse, sometimes to the album's detriment... it's difficult to pinpoint the exact sound of the album.

It's worth noting some of the downfalls of the album. From the bizarre album artwork to the strange selection of songs, (this album went through many changes before reaching its final form) it's definitely an oddball from the Ministry discography. To expand upon my previous mention about the diversity of the songs, the songs almost feel 'cobbled' together without a whole lot of order. It's very clear the band was in a period of experimenting with their sound, and not always for the best. To some, this album is a strange mashup of styles that don't quite blend well. To me, however, I believe the mix of songs keeps the album dynamic and avoids stagnation.

Dark Side feels like the last of Ministry's 'classic' era before devolving to the bizarre period of the early 2000s, with "Animositisomina" following up soon after. To a Ministry fan that seeks a unique mix of their sounds from over the years, Dark Side is a great 'crossroads' album. Moments in "Step" and "Eureka Pile" are reminiscent of "Psalm 69", while "Bad Blood" echoes their industrial roots from "The Land of Rape and Honey". With a mix of standard Ministry aggression, industrial roots, comedic moments, and a new flurry of darkness and moodiness, the Dark Side of the Spoon is a strange but dynamic and creative album.