The Dark Side of the Spoon

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Having struggled back to their feet, Ministry ambitiously attempts to broaden their signature sound with Dark Side of the Spoon. While it is a better record than Filth Pig, that's largely because of a few strong moments propping up a number of surprisingly bland attempts at aggression. Tunefulness was never Ministry's strong point, and several songs are built on extremely rudimentary vocal melodies. While it's admirable that the group is trying new things this far into its career, it never quite settles on a definite approach. Besides, not everything they're trying is new; a few parts are reminiscent of their earliest, synth-oriented days, while some of the dark humor that used to fill Revolting Cocks albums pops up here and there. The problem with the latter is that instead of being performed as though the band might snap at any second (as in the past), it sounds a little dopey and ineffectual. It would be a mistake to say that the album is a complete failure; "Supermanic Soul" and "Bad Blood" integrate some of the noisiness of Filth Pig with sound effects and classic Ministry riffs, while the otherwise dull "Eureka Pile" successfully works in some Eastern-tinged female vocals. But it does become apparent -- especially over the second half -- that the band simply doesn't sound as fearsome; so, Dark Side of the Spoon can't be considered the successful expansion of their sound that would bode well for the future.

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