Ministry - Cover Up
I really didn't see this coming. Despite knowing full well Al Jourgenson's myriad of musical inspirations, I never thought to hear an album full of covers by Ministry. Furthermore, not a bunch of classic rock'n'roll tunes. But that's what they've done, a more lively and upbeat send-off to a band who's career spanned the better part of 3 decades, one of the most influential of our time.
Each song deserves some notice. Opener "Under My Thumb" (Rolling Stones) is pure bloody awesome in every way; translating the original melody to a synth line and rollicking it up a bit more with thick riffing and a more fiery vocal performance from Al. This segues into "Bang a Gong" (T-Rex), which translates just as well into Ministry's full-speed-ahead approach. The verses stay more or less true to the original, but the two-line chorus is beefier with blastbeats in-tow. "Radar Love" (Golden Earring) is maybe my favorite song on the disc; the drums are tight, the notable bassline is more subdued behind their pulsating throb. Al's vocals lend much to the original, but the band again take it upon themselves to up the tempo drastically. And damn if it isn't still catchy; almost sounding better than the original article. The next few songs are short, catchy numbers, "Space Truckin'", "Black Betty" and "Just Got Paid" being the best of the bunch. "Roadhouse Blues" was featured on their last studio album and fits in well towards the end. Their version of Black Sabbath's "Supernaut" is extremely well done. The only part of the album that doesn't fully satisfy is Al's attempt to conjure the spirit of Louis Armstrong on "What a Wonderful World". His voice mocks as much as celebrates Louie's, and the song itself somehow sounds rather different than the original when the others tended to stick a little more to the original arrangement. Perhaps the coating of grime just doesn't fit, when it should on paper. The 2nd half of the song is pretty badass, though. There are also a few bonus cuts; an unneccesary reprise of "Wonderful World", a more straight-ahead live version of the same, and what sounds like Al singing an old country hymn of some sort. Nothing special.
But this album is; it impacts more than "The Last Sucker" with these original classics' bombastic nature lending terrificly so to Ministry's industrial metal. While I expected, upon first hearing of the album, to hear some Skinny Puppy or even Depeche Mode (leaning more towards Al's original roots), I was pleasantly surprised with "Cover Up" and the selections within. It fits among the pantheon of Ministry records perfectly; a nod to some pioneering bands from one who has done their fair share of groundbreaking as well.
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