After enduring a year like 2020, no one could have possibly expected Al Jourgensen to stay silent on the maelstrom of the past 12 months. As the mastermind behind pioneering industrial outfit Ministry, Jourgensen has spent the last four decades using music as a megaphone to rally listeners to the fight for equal rights, restoring American liberties, exposing the exploitation, and putting crooked politicians in their rightful place—set to a background of aggressive riffs, searing vocals and manipulated sounds to drive it home.
As Jourgensen watched the chaos that befell the world during the height of a global pandemic and the tensions rising from one of the most important elections in American history, he seized on the opportunity to write, spending quarantine holed up in his self-built home studio—Scheisse Dog Studio— along with engineer Michael Rozon and girlfriend Liz Walton to create Ministry’s latest masterpiece, Moral Hygiene (out October 1 on Nuclear Blast Records). Anchored by last year’s leadoff track “Alert Level”—which asks listeners to internalize the question “How concerned are you?”—the 10 songs on this upcoming 15th studio album cover the breadth of the current dilemmas facing humanity while ruminating on the sizable impact of COVID-19, the inevitable effects of climate change, consequences of misinformed conspiracies and the stakes in the fight for racial equality. And most importantly doing so with the lens of what we as a society are going to do about it all.
“The one good thing about taking a year off from any social activity is that you really get to sit back and get an overview of things as opposed to being caught up in the moment,” says Jourgensen, “and what became inevitably clear is that the times are changing and this past year has been a wake-up call—and that’s a very good thing. Because society, as we have known it the past few decades, has needed to change,” he continues. “Ever since Reagan and the girth of Wall Street, we have become too close to the belief that greed is good. Society has really taken a dark turn and now we are bearing the fruit of that misdirection driven by the idea that it’s all about me and not other people and to take care of yourself and fuck everything else. We now more than ever need moral hygiene. It’s what we have to return to in order to function as the human species on this planet.”
Moral Hygiene comes on the heels of Ministry’s acclaimed 2018 album AmeriKKKant (hailed by Loudwire as Jourgensen’s own “state of the union” address) that was written as a reaction to Donald J. Trump being elected president—though Jourgensen says this new album is more informational and reflective in tone.
With the release of Moral Hygiene, Jourgensen is more positive than before. “This may sound crazy but I’m more hopeful about 2021 than I have been in two decades at least,” he says. “Because I do see things changing; people are starting to see through all the bullshit and want to get back to actual decorum in society. We could just treat each other nicely and be treated nicely in return. I never thought Ministry would be in the position of preaching traditional values, but this is the rebellion now.”
Variously described as a sludge metal grunge, experimental rock, alternative metal, and doom metal band, Melvins explored a variety of different styles throughout their career.
Melvins’ sludgy sound was an influence on grunge music, including bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Green River, and many other bands from Seattle. They have also influenced artists outside the grunge scene, including Tool, Mike Patton of Mr. Bungle. and Faith No More.
Since Covid put touring on hiatus, the band has released two albums: ‘Working With God‘ and ‘Five Legged Dog’ (a 36-song collection featuring acoustic versions of their most beloved songs)
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