Sound — 8
If George Bush has been good for anything, it's inspiring Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen to write some of his best -- and most politically scathing -- material. The band's 11th and final album The Last Sucker is the final part in the trilogy that focuses on pretty much all that has gone wrong under the Bush regime. It's truly the message that is driving the songs on the album, with titles like Death And Destruction and The Dick Song (an ode of sort to our vice president) using direct samples from Bush and Cheney's speeches. If you're not fond of political records, then you may find that The Last Sucker lays it on a bit thick. Even with all of the war talk, underneath it all there are still some pretty cool, industrial rock compositions. Jourgensen apparently told Billboard back in 2006 that he had no intention of going the Rolling Stones or Aerosmith route, which some might politely call overstaying your welcome. While he's bold to make the statement, it is true that there is a fire in Ministry's music that continues to keep the band's sound current. The Last Sucker is not a perfect album by any means, but it definitely is an album that proves why Jourgensen still deserves to be a key figure in today's metal scene. Appropriately starting out Ministry's final CD is a preacher's voice declaring that the end of times is near. It's true that Ministry's time has come to an end, but it's obvious there is a more ominous overtone regarding the Iraqi war. The CD immediately jumps into the song Let's Go, which is spot-on in terms of energy (as is any song that proclaims let's go insane), but it is also one of the more repetitive tracks on the CD. Guitarist Tommy Victor is able to resurrect the song with an absolutely incredible guitar solo -- one of many on The Last Sucker that strike a beautiful balance between speed and melody. While The Dick Song is basically an attack on Dick Cheney and his ongoing shenanigans, the music was definitely not an afterthought. There is nice drum track that recalls Nine Inch Nails' Closer, and it's a nice change in the other percussive elements used in other tracks. Death And Destruction is another track that features some very cool effects in the introduction, once again highlighted by a touch of the political -- in this case, little splices of Bush saying, Death and destruction... The most unexpected addition to the track list is a cover of The Doors' Roadhouse Blues. It's definitely a change from the original, primarily because the tempo is much, much faster. The bluesy element is pretty much eliminated, which is not it's best point. Ministry does inject it's own style into the song, but Doors' purists will find that the cover just does not do the original justice.
Lyrics — 9
Al Jourgensen makes his opinion known about Bush, Cheney, and war in general on The Last Sucker, keeping with the overall theme of Ministry's trilogy. When you combine Jourgensen's own words with the various political samples he adds into the mix, it makes a huge impression. The record reflects on the decision to go to war with Iraq through vocal samplings of Bush, Cheney, and others. It's a timely record if it's anything, and that can connect with a wide audience in itself. So when you hear the sampled phrase Satan's emissary on earth at the end of The Dick Song, it expresses the thoughts a lot of people might be feeling about the men in power. To top it off Jourgensen sings, Run, run, run; Cheney's got a gun. They are just beautifully caustic lyrics that completely get the point across.
Overall Impression — 8
For all of the focus on the outspoken lyrics, there are a few songs that would be killer tracks with or without the words. Die In A Crash features a high-pitched keyboard that sounds very cool against the lower register of Jourgensen's vocals. And then you've got the fantastic guitar work, which is consistently impressive throughout (particularly during the solos using the wah pedal). It really breaks up the usual industrial sound and adds almost a bluesy element on speed at times. Ministry has had a lengthy and highly influential career in the world of industrial music, and it's final album ends on a high note. The Last Sucker is one of the most politically charged albums written in a long time and that in itself is commendable. The music is not always on par with the band's political mission, but there are a few songs that do manage to compete with the lyrical content and confirm that the band is going out in a blaze of glory.