Easily one of the most anticipated albums from that year, especially after Nine Inch Nails had helped bring industrial metal to the mainstream with the success of the overtly Ministry-worshipping Pretty Hate Machine, Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed & the Way to Suck Eggs represented the high point of Alain Jourgensen and Paul Barker's incarnation as loud-as-hell electro-thrashers. The pump had been primed the previous year with the fierce "Jesus Built My Hot Rod," featuring Gibby Haynes from Butthole Surfers on vocals ranting over a galloping molten explosion of beats and feedback. Presented in a slightly edited version here, it's still the high point of the album, while a reworked version of its B-side, "TV Song" (here called "TV II" and with Jourgensen on vocals instead of Chris Connelly), also makes for some good noise. Throughout, however, Ministry as a unit shows their facility for straightforward, brutal noise crossed with clinical, on-the-money arrangements, whether it's the collage of crowd-riot samples bubbling throughout "N.W.O." or the chantings of Christian praise on the title track. As a role model for any number of nu-metallers down the road, Psalm 69 is often terribly underrated, but where Ministry succeeds while so many failed easily has to do with sheer vitriol only slightly tempered by the overwhelming hugeness of the songs. Consider the massive impact of the drums on "Just One Fix" as they lead into tightly wound, downward-spiral riffing or the hyper-speed clatter of "Hero" and "Corrosion." Jourgensen's rasped lyrical visions of a corrupt America, drug addiction, mindless patriotism, and religious hypocrisy aren't per se revelatory, but anyone who lived through the Bush years -- either father or son -- might find plenty to sympathize with. Secret highlight: "Scarecrow," which takes the massive slow pound of Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" and takes it to a strung-out, harrowing new location.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett