Currently enjoying “Rio Grande Blood” by Ministry

“I have adopted sophisticated terrorist tactics,” former president George W. Bush declares in the opening moments of Rio Grande Blood, “and I am a dangerous, dangerous man, with dangerous, dangerous weapons.”

These are the sort of snidely manipulated samples that Ministry used to great effect in their fast and heavy indictments of government throughout their twenty-seven year career. Indeed, it’s only a minute and a half into the first track that you’ll hear the former president gleefully declare “I’m an asshole!”

2006′s Rio Grande Blood is the second installment in a trilogy of anti-Bush albums that Ministry released during the former president’s administration, which also includes 2004′s Houses of the MolĂ© and 2007 The Last Sucker. Former frontman Al Jourgensen often joked that the band’s albums sucked unless there was a Republican president in the White House, and these records, coupled with earlier material like the classic Psalm 69, certainly bear him out when they’re compared to the negligible albums released during the Clinton era.

Also notable for being the band’s first album on Jourgensen’s own 13th Planet label, and the second last album the band would ever release, Rio Grande Blood is an album that I hadn’t actually heard until last week. Having bought and enjoyed the other two records in the trilogy long ago, I figured it was time to fill in the gap – and in spite of a general lack of surprises on the record, I’m glad I did.

If you’ve heard either or both of the other albums in the trilogy, then this one isn’t going to surprise you – but it’s also not going to let you down. The riffs are heavy, the satire meets the “sharp on the one hand, childish on the other” standard that Ministry calls its own, and the ultimate tone of the album is one of pragmatic, pessimistic hope.

If you can stomach Jourgensen’s taste for political puns, and a rather odd dose of 9/11 Truth overtones, then you’re going to get a lot out of this record – and if you’re not careful, you may learn something before it’s done.

Posted in Currently Enjoying