Back when EPs were all the rage and Wax Trax were defining industrial dance music, Ministry mainman Al Jourgensen got to release any whim or half-baked idea he had and, boy, was it fun. Ryko's Side Trax collects all the important side projects from back in the day and captures a time when Jourgensen hadn't become a total headbanger. First up, and best of the lot, is Pailhead and their great Trait EP plus some 12"s. Pailhead approach being a "band" more than the other larks here, with Fugazi's Ian MacKaye offering real lyrics to real songs rather than chants over experiments. It would be a shame if you missed the great "Don't Stand in Line" or the near-Killing Joke "I Will Refuse," and the brash "No Bunny" is still silly fun 15 years later. 1000 Homo DJs (Jourgesen and his usual crew augmented with Jello Biafra or an uncredited Trent Reznor) are next, and their four-song 1991 EP will forever be remembered for its over-the-top, full-speed-ahead version of Black Sabbath's "Supernaut." PTP (stands for "Programming the Psychodrill") haven't aged nearly as well, showing too much of a school-boy crush for cheap samplers, but Skinny Puppy's Ogre is on vocals for "Show Me Your Spine," which should at least make you curious. Acid Horse is the oddball teaming of Ministry and Cabaret Voltaire, whose contribution seems to be one stab of synth and a bit of vocoder. That Ryko collected these forgotten EPs is a blessing to any early-'90s industrial nut, but if some liner notes would have been included, that would have been great. How in the world the Texas-talking, -spitting, and -grinning Jourgensen hooked up with those cerebral Cabs is a story that should be told. Regardless, Ministry newcomers don't have to scour the Net for these buried treasures, and longtime fans can put the turntable away. Thanks Ryko, now give us that unmixed version of Twitch we've all heard about, would ya?
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
feat: Acid Horse
feat: Acid Horse