Al Jourgensen will forever be known for Ministry, but let us not forget his other projects. Revolting Cocks, 1000 Homo DJs, Lard and Acid Horse. So now in 2016 he has a new project in the form of Surgical Meth Machine, which he has described as a “speed metal project”.
I was interested to see what Uncle Al would produce next and I wasn’t disappointed. Opening with a very honest and straight to the point punch with “I’m Sensitive” which shows Al’s approach and thoughts to social media. In his rebellious style Al has always been better when he has had something to get angry and passionate about. It’s the usual mix of samples and distorted guitars that you would expect from Al.
Pulling us in with a similar Ministry style sound, we are then greeted with thrash guitars. As first single “Tragic Alert” blasts at our ear drums with full force. “I Want More” has an awesome guitar intro, that bleeds with savagery. Cutting through the wall of noise is Al’s screams and shouts, only out done in quality by the guitar solo mid way through. Next up is “Rich People Problems” a punk rock riot with old school Ministry vibes, that keep the energy and pace of the album.
Jello Biafra is back on “I Don’t Wanna” giving his unique touch to this track, which recreates the chemistry from when they worked together on Lard. It is just obscure at times, mixing so many instrumental ideas in one pot and producing an absolute mindfuck to the senses. Going straight into “Smash And Grab” which is a mess of noise and vocals, which is where the album gets a bit out of control. With no room for a break “Unlistenable” melts straight into previous song, giving your ears a mash of samples, guitars and drum beats that really will be unlistenable for some people. To me it feels like he is rebelling against music, the record labels and what people class as music, by creating the most obscure sounds and mashing it all together. The slating of Nickelback was funny though!
“Gates Of Steel” opens up with fun almost catchy guitar riff and beats, showing Al’s lighter side. It has a 80’s happy almost pop feel to it which makes it really enjoyable. With the same upbeat tune “Spudnik” kicks in; which is just a mix of samples and noise that sets us up for the next few tracks. “Just Go Home” and “Just Keep Going” are full of sounds that remind me of Yello, which almost feel like we have entered Al’s mind when he was making this record. It is at this point I am reminded that this album is called Surgical Meth Machine, so are we being taken through a drug binge from the high to the euphoria?
As we end with “I’m Invisible” to which there is an accompanying video filmed in Las Vegas, that shows a drug haze influenced mix of bizarre antics. You feel this trip coming to an end. The ride has been interesting, Uncle Al has not let it get boring with a mix of heavy thrash guitars, samples, punk rock vibes, a poppy number and a heartfelt chillout number. To those who think this is just Ministry with a new label, this it is not!