By Ellen Eldridge
Calling the thirteenth Ministry release schizophrenic implies that Jourgensen’s work isn’t grounded in reality. From the chaotic beats and frenzied samples to the intermittent bursts from Jourgensen himself, From Beer to Eternity sounds off about the world. From the astounded “Holy cow!” introducing “Hail to His Majesty (Peasants)” through “Punch in the Face,” “Permawar,” and “Perfect Storm,” no doubt exists that these songs are laced with political sentiment. The seething anger toward President Obama floods the songs so that pounding drums become the oars hitting the water; Jourgensen is trying to flood listeners’ senses while permeating their minds.
And hey, everyone is entitled to his opinion, but for those who prefer to “stick their heads in the sand” politically, From Beer to Eternity tackles all the layers of Ministry’s signature sound.
“The Horror” bears the burden of the abortion controversy, bombarding listeners with scattered samples repeating “Got ya’ll in a trance” while snippets sound off about “legitimate rape” and “God intended” pregnancies.
I remember distinctly the “C U La Tour” of 2008, Ministry’s tongue-in-cheek “kiss-my-ass” goodbye, so when I heard about the release and tour I laughed. I understand the push and pull of the touring life; the music business is one that cost Jourgensen much heartache including the recent death of Mike Scaccia, Ministry’s guitarist who died of a heart attack in December 23, 2012. Jourgensen said the recording process went so smoothly and, “Mikey was so on fire and inspired, and really a driving force for this record” that he had “no choice” but to lock himself in his studio with his engineer and co-producer Sammy D’Ambruoso for three excruciating months.
“There was no choice,” Jourgensen says of the bittersweet production process. “During the tracking sessions, Mikey was smiling and going, ‘You know what, Al? This is by far and away the best Ministry album we’ve ever done together. This is awesome.’ I’m super proud of From Beer to Eternity because it’s my tribute to Mikey’s incredible talent, and I feel it honors him and all of the years we spent together making music.”
The melodic undercurrent of “Thankx But No Thankx” carries a raspy voice that recalls Tom Waits and overall, this album amazes. Those seeking Ministry at its most brutal and most political will love From Beer to Eternity, but those who prefer politics in outlets other than their music, take a memo from the closing track and “Enjoy the Quiet.”