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Raw, Straight To The Point and Versatile - 100%

notagenius, July 15th, 2018

There are few albums that I would say are masterpieces or have some particularly high-quality mint condition finish to them but this LP meets that standard. Industrial music is one of my favorite genres of music but on this record Ministry decided to break their own laws and try something different, and trust me it worked out well. The title track is hard-hitting and heavy, with bombastic and extravagant production. It feels straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster in the movie genre of zombie horror films. Whatever Al decided to experiment with on terms of his drug use seemed to work well.

The minimalism, raw presentation and often razor-sharp grooves on this album is kick-ass, and doesn't disappoint. At first, 'Reload' didn't have much of a impact on me but after multiple listens it eventually grew on me. The record is somewhat nihilistic because of the lyrical content being so bleak and downtempo but it still feels like it is grasping onto some level of barbarism to keep itself alive and awake.

'Gameshow' is easily one of my favorite tracks of all time, and on the record. A pure classic, reaching a point I would have never thought the band could especially with their more lackluster content they have been releasing lately. (AmeriKKKa anyone?) The record has aged quite well to add, with some innovative sonic qualities to it and brilliant mixing. The vocals are a bit nutty and off-the-wall, but I understood why exactly Al decided to make it this way.

The overall vibe of this full-length is like some cheerleaders getting fucked by jocks in a high-school parking lot after their friends getting eaten alive by zombies. It's pretty enticing really, like Rob Zombie but done way better with more fireworks and action. Another great quality about this record is that I can go through the entirety of this record without skipping tracks I do not like. It is so entertaining from front to back that I could actually listen to the record in one sitting session.

That leaves me to the flow of the record, which is genius. There isn't really any filler tracks here, thrown into the mix to make the record hit that one hour mark for the record label and touring material but rather it is a honest cohesive piece in their discography which leaves a lasting impression. It isn't just another Ministry album but something that could be seen as a major point in their career and a great contribution to the genre.

Filth Pork is a Great “Dish” to Taste - 85%

bayern, August 8th, 2017

Excluding Metallica, Ministry were the most successful metal act of the 90’s. Although in truth half of their discography was already released before the start of the decade, it can’t be denied the fact that they really hit their stride with “Psalm 69”, a colossal commercial and critical success, a great slab of industrial-peppered thrash which continued the trend from their last two instalments. Al Jourgensen and Co. were a part of this exciting bunch of thrash metal diversifiers also including Die Krupps, Skrew and Malhavoc, who gave the 90’s vogues a more attractive, less drastically angry flair, and even attracted some of the 80’s audience. Neither of them continued in exactly the same way, Die Krupps the sole exception, as more groove started sneaking into their repertoire bit by bit, prompting the bands to make some compromises with their aggressive arsenal.

The album reviewed here appeared after a 4-year break, the longest one the band had ever made since their inception, an obvious indication that something different may have been cooked in their “kitchen”. Pork is always a great dish, if made properly, but served “filthy” no one had ever thought about that option before, but no one had thought about industrializing thrash, either, until these lads did in 1988… In other words, Jourgensen was on a creative course once again, only with more familiar tools of the trade. Music-wise this is as groovy as any album could possibly get in the 90’s, but in the Ministry case it worked very well; for the umpteenth time. “Reload” is the ultimate dirger in metal history, a sludgy doomy, noisy wonder which even sounds jumpy and hectic in a very vociferous, industrialized way. The title-track elaborates on this eye-opening “filthy” beginning, industrial doom at its finest, this is what an industrial tribute to Black Sabbath should sound like, but wait till you hear “Lava”, the perfect soundtrack to any volcano-based disaster film, a formidable steam-rolling sludger the super-heavy showdown topped by Jourgensen’s spiteful, intimidating vocals with a few eccentric cleaner vocalisms timidly emerging among the lava-like rhythms.

“Crumbs” is marginally livelier and jumpier, but the dispassionate aura remains sucking in everyone inadvertently; that’s apparently a momentary deviation as “Useless” brings everything back to “peaceful” doomy waters again. Jolts and bolts galore are served by the following “Dead Guy” which still remains on slow territory the culmination in this trend reached on “Game Show”, a sprawling balladic doom metal opera lasting for nearly 8-min. “The Fall” sounds like The Funeral March only with vocal accompaniment and upgraded to the 90’s generation with a noisier vibe, a dark morose piece after which come the only more optimistic overtones on the album, in the form of the soothing ballad “Lay Lady Lay”, a Bob Dylan cover, quite well made although Yourgensen makes no compromises whatsoever with his shouty vocal bravado, his infernal tirades contrasting with the serene hypnotic rhythms. “Brick Windows” tries to keep the friendlier tone with sprightlier psychedelic arrangements, a spacey anthem which could have been taken from any mid-period Hawkwind opus, again with the relevant contemporary (for the time) updates.

There’s no thrash under any form here, this is a spacey psychedelic, industrial doomy extravaganza that still makes the rounds, albeit in a more minimalistic, more subdued manner. Some may complain that this particular approach undermines the skills of Mike Scaccia (R.I.P.), the guitar wizard (also Rigor Mortis) who was still a guest musician here before joining the band on a full-time basis a few years later, as the somewhat one-dimensional, anti-dynamic delivery simply doesn’t need a guitarist of his calibre. And, I’m pretty sure the guys could have done away without a guitar player at this particular point in time as the music is very heavily industrialized, the distortions and noises overwriting any actual musical instruments used during the recordings. At this stage it was still for the better as the band have added another plus to their lustrous career, paying their fair, also characteristic, tribute to the doom metal field, above all.

What other tributes they were yet to pay later, that became a not very pressing question as the old school was looming on the horizon, its threshold of tolerance towards all things noisy and angry not very high. However, spacing out was already a process started in the Ministry camp, and they had to nail one more oddity on the 90’s canvas, which was “Dark Side of the Spoon” in 1999. An oddity indeed as this opus was a weird compilation of influences the band not making any claims to be a metal outfit anymore thus letting their imagination run wilder, producing a blend between 70’s progressive rock and Killing Joke with just humble assistance provided by the good old metal. Strange stuff, but that was to be expected by Jourgensen and his not very predictable comrades who took another lengthy break before hitting with “Animositisomina” (2003), a very similar in spirit to the preceding album effort, an eccentric piece of industrial art with metal coyishly returning to the fore. The latter was restored to full glory with “Houses of the Mole” which saw the band embracing their old love thrash with all the passion they could summon leading to a string of four very strong albums, finally giving Scaccia an arena to display his talents more fully. After the latter’s untimely passing in 2012 Jourgensen seriously thought of laying down the weapons for good, but he pulled himself together for one more stunt, “From Beer to Eternity”, a collection of not very impressive, not very inspired songs that mostly served as a posthumous ode to the guys’ late colleague and friend.

The band are determined to carry on without Scaccia, and kudos should be paid them for that. But no more odes to our favourite beer, though; leave this to Tankard. A tray of filthy beef for a change would always be a more preferrable entry on the industrial “menu”…

Sludgy industrial comes to the pit - 86%

FearAbsentia, January 26th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1996, CD, Warner Bros. Records

In 1992, Ministry made their ultimate breakthrough album with Psalm 69. While the band delivered some of the earliest examples of industrial metal back in the late 80's, Psalm 69 cemented itself as THE essential industrial metal album. The album blended the gritty atmosphere of the aforementioned genre with the speed and aggression of thrash metal, resulting in an instant classic in my book.

Fast-forward four years later, the band dropped Filth Pig. Filth Pig takes quite a different approach to the thrash-oriented industrial metal sound of the previous two albums. This album rather goes in the sludgy direction of fellow industrial metal pioneers Godflesh. Just take a listen to the groovy dirge of "Lava" and you'll see what I mean. Al Jourgensen's vocals are even more raspy this time around, his stark vocals contrast well with the grit of the music. "Crumbs" follows in the same mid-paced sludgy direction, with a bit more crashing percussion and dissonance. Paul Barker gets a short but neat little deep bassline in the middle of the song, which contrasts well with the almost black metal-dissonance that immediately follows.

The crushing "Dead Guy" may very well be my favorite on the album. Jourgensen's vocal attack on this track just bursts with attitude. The crunching bass/guitar interplay that opens up the track is absolutely killer. The following track, "Game Show" is a lot more misanthropic with downwards chromatic guitar licks and an atmosphere that expresses a strong sense of doom. Granted, most of the album does have a very stark gloomy atmosphere.

While not quite in the same league as The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste or Psalm 69, Filth Pig is a great album that showed the band trying something a bit different. The album title certainly fits, as I can't think of much else that fits the definition of filthy industrial metal quite like this one.


Uncle Al and band on downers. - 60%

artrucho, May 8th, 2013

This was the first album by the band that I ever saw in stores, and the striking album artwork made me wonder what kind of band Ministry was (at the time I was 15 and into very different genres) but I never got around to doing so. I finally listened to it this year, after going through TMIATTTT and Psalm 69, two albums I immediately enjoyed, and arrived to Filth Pig with high expectations. Those expectations were pretty much crapped on after one listen, for this is not the brutal Ministry from before or after. I happen to also love sludge and slow tempo stuff, but not with the name Ministry attached to it. It was a new direction for the band, and it wasn't a good one.

Musically speaking, nothing seems to be missing here: mechanical sounds, screaming distorted vocals, layers over layers of noise, all key ingredients to the Ministry sound. It's just that here, they're all controlled, almost harmless. Like they all took the biggest chill pill and recorded the album in the wake of its effects. It seems Al Jourgensen was sharing some of his downers with the rest of the band while recording Filth Pig...

Not everything is negative though, it has its good moments. The drums are not spectacular but they work well (I love them in "Dead Guy"), and the guitar work of Mike Scaccia -may he rest in peace- has always been dear to me. Uncle Al's lyrics are vicious and full of hate, and they have some brilliant passages ("You wanna lie like a dog/You're gonna wake up with fleas" -from "Reload") and some incomprehensible gibberish ("Lava"). But after several listens, the album as a whole is not a memorable one, and even though repetitiveness is par for the course in the industrial genre, when you mix that with a slow tempo, it turns into a droning, hypnotizing and boring affair. You're always left awaiting the pummeling onslaught of noise that we kind of expect from the band, but it only comes in small doses.

Filth Pig was a commercial failure when it came out, and I can see why: the band wanted to go in a more mainstream direction, away from the industrial foundations of their previous work, and a clear indicator of this was the cover of Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" used as the album's torchbearer (it's an interesting, trippy version for sure, I was never a fan of the original). In the end, it didn't work out the way they wanted. To me, this album has 3 great songs, 2 decent ones and the rest is completely toothless and forgettable.

Ministry would stumble again with their next album, Dark Side of the Spoon, until finally regaining their heavy, dirty and distorted footing with their 2003 album Animositisomina.

Highlights: "Lava", "Dead Guy", "Brick Windows".

Memories... - 80%

demonomania, November 24th, 2008

This album is near and dear to my heart, for one reason or another. It was a transition album into the “darker” genres of music, and a favorite in late-night drugscapades. Plus I have a t-shirt (with the cover artwork) that is just about shredded with age, and have gotten many a great comment on it. My favorite was a little kid in the Bronx, who saw the shirt and said, “look mommy, that guy’s got spaghetti on his head!” His mother halfheartedly agreed and quickly moved the child away from me. So forgive me for going a bit too in-depth here, as this piece of plastic is something I’m more intimate with than your grandmother – which is pretty damn intimate indeed.

All that schmaltz aside, “Filth pig” was a big album for Ministry. Their cover of Dylan’s “Lay lady lay” made it onto alternative radio. At the time the term alternative conjured up something radical and different and cool. I was 14, if that helps you understand my frame of mind. Alternative radio would play things that basically broke down into three categories:

One-hit Blunders: Everclear and Seven Mary Three (I know, who da fuck?)
Obnoxious Stalwarts: Dave Matthews Band (I hate those bastards) and Pearl Jam (hate them for no real reason other than bad Morrison-ripoff vocalist)
Cool, Metal/Industrial Motherfuckers: White Zombie and Nine Inch Nails

You can guess where Ministry fit in. That’s right, the DMB category! Wrong, dumbshit. Yep, “Lay lady lay” was edgy enough to be alternative, but quite palatable by Ministry standards. Sure, “Jesus built my hotrod” was on the radio, but not as constantly. And they had a video for it (which sucked)! Alien Jorgenson moved more toward a groovy, somewhat post-rock approach to the industrial metal he had helped invent. Gone are the pounding, sample-heavy tracks of the past. Hello more fleshed out, organic SONGS that sound less cut and paste. And he started using clean vocals again, but of course had them distorted to hide the fact that he sounds like a whiny bitch when he “sings.” Distorted clean vocals, you say? Isn’t that somewhat of an oxymoron? Fuck you, I reply.

Does that mean “Filth pig” is better than the albums that came before it? Well, a record composed of chimps giving each other the shocker (two in the pink, one in the chimpy stink) would be better than the synth-pop stuff Ministry was putting out in the mid-80’s. As a whole it is more listenable but less evilly abrasive than “Land of rape…”, but less stuffed with great tracks than “Psalm 69.” So kind of in the middle. The reason it is kind of in the middle is because of the songs that are kind of in the middle of da pig. Some are tedious, some are just a bit too weird for most. “Useless,” “Crumbs,” and the title track tend to drone on and hurt the brain. “The Fall” and “Game show” are long and odd, like a trollpenis. Not bad, mind you, but not an everyday listen and not everyone’s cup of trollpenis extract.

Where “Filth pig” shines is its tracks filled with chunky, malicious, and almost stoner groove. “Lava” has a riff that could sink a battleship with low vox that grumble along in a Southern fashion. “Dead guy” is another awesome track with great lyrics (from what I can make out). “Reload” is a violent opener with some of the chunk intact, but is short and sweet and mean. The aforementioned “Lay lady lay” is a cool psychedelic take on the original and deserved to be the single, and the final track “Brick windows” does a nifty job of merging the experimental side with the industrial groove. And there’s decipherable lyrics to boot! Fantastic, sayeth I.

So there you have it. On an overall scale, there’s only 5 excellent tunes out of ten. Which makes scoring the album on a scale of ten really easy. Half-quality half-not wouldn’t normally justify a great score, but somehow “Filth pig” really works well as a whole. So that adds a point. Plus, nostalgia adds a point. And the cover art, nifty American flag design on the disc, and my torn up shirt adds another. Plus, everyone thought it was me on the shirt (why, I don’t know), but I won’t add anything for that.

I forgot to mention the production and the playing of particular instruments. Oh well. The production is quite good, and it is a Ministry album, so take the various instrumental positions for what you will.

That leaves “Filth pig” with a grand total of… drum roll please... 8 out of 10

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