And, we're back. Four years after leader Al Jourgensen put Ministry to rest, supposedly for good, Relapse crawls out of the sewer. Recovery from a serious illness, and thinking the Occupy movement needed an angrier soundtrack are two of the reasons for the rebirth, but the validation is Relapse itself. This is a harder and faster-than-usual album from the group, and yet there's also a heavier element of control throughout, as Jourgensen holds the reigns tighter, guiding this industrial-thrash monster down a speedy track without going over the edge. Now, the messages come through loud and clear, something left over from the previous, Bush Jr.-hating trilogy albums that preceded Relapse, where the choruses are simple, shouted slogans and verses fill in the viewpoint. If you haven't pulled a lever in years, the sincere and furious about it "Git Up Get Out 'N' Vote" will sound like your political science teacher nagging you with some Static X, Prong, and Rigor Mortis members backing them up, and if you don't care much for musicians bitching about the music business, the opening epic "Ghouldiggers" will seem like a ten-page op-ed piece turned up to 11. Embrace, or even tolerate, these viewpoints and Relapse becomes a top-shelf Ministry album on the level of The Land of Rape and Honey, although it's too insider to convert, with common ground only playing a part in the party-hardy "Weekend Warrior," the simple and effective "99 Percenters," plus the blistering cover of S.O.D.'s "United Forces." "It doesn't matter how you wear your hair/It's what's inside your head" is how that last one begins in classic protest style, but Jourgensen prefers a never forget/never forgive attack when it comes to lyric-writing with some self-insertion in the mix. Take that into consideration then declare the album a classic or a supreme thrash tank with a leftist blowhard at the wheel.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries