Surgical Meth Machine by Surgical Meth Machine (Nuclear Blast Records)
Your Uncle Al returns with not a new Ministry album but one that still sounds like the band he’s most well known for. There are plenty of tracks on the self-titled Surgical Meth Machine that sound like Ministry as well as a welcome lack of maturity in the speed-metal, the studio trickery, the yelled, angry vocals and the sampling. For the most part you’ll recognize this all as coming from the deranged and drug-damaged mind of Jourgensen, yet you also will be treated to a killer kover of Devo‘s Gates of Steel, a dub track or two in Just Go Home and Just Keep Going, and Al’s recognition of his early New Wave days in I’m Invisible (the video is hilarious!).
So the question is: Is Surgical Meth Machine any good? The answer is: Yes! and if you love Ministry: Hell Yes!
I’m Sensitive opens Surgical Meth Machine with Jourgensen ranting about the sorry state of youth these days with their little facebook comments and inability to take criticism and dealing with opposing views. His answer is: “I don’t fucking care!” Set to some of the fastest guitars and drums you’ve ever heard. After that cute little ditty Tragic Alert continues the metal Armageddon with chanted vocals and a treated voice that sounds suspiciously like Hulk Hogan, Jourgensen raving about violence in the world, violence on TV and just feeling sick of it all. You’ll be moshing and banging your head faster faster faster. And that’s meaning enough.
Rich People Problems contains some hilarious lyrics amongst the scary metal guitars with Al talking about wanting a life that is simple and full of money where the worst thing that can happen is having his personal chef forget his favorite bottled water. I Don’t Wanna features the distinctive vocals of Jello Biafra set to a ridiculously catchy percussive rhythm and jagged guitars. If this doesn’t get you riled up then you need to get off the downers and live a little. Unlistenable is Al and engineer/drum programmer Sam D’Ambruoso getting crazy with guitars and sampling, the second half is Sam and Al discussing bands that suck, even a certain band named Ministry. But they agree Devo fucking rules. And then that awesome version of Devo’s Gates of Steel follows.
After two dubby tracks Surgical Meth Machine closes with a certainly tongue in cheek song called I’m Invisible, with Al returning in a way to his early days, only this time he’s an American lounge singer crooning over some spooky guitar twang and a creepy crawly looping groove.
Surgical Meth Machine is the sound of Al Jourgensen fucking around in his Burbank, CA garage studio with buddy Sam D’Ambruoso crafting some raging metal and other out-there tunes, enjoying some legal weed and having a blast. I for one am happy to live in Uncle Al’s world.
(by Bret Miller)