Despite having fifteen previous albums on the clock with Ministry alone – other outfits notwithstanding – Al Jourgensen still has lost neither his invective nor his razor-sharp wit when it comes to reflecting on the stupidities of society. Spinning a play on the Marxism that ‘religion is the opium of the masses’, ‘HOPIUMFORTHEMASSES’ reflects on a number of contemporary issues set to an uncompromisingly heavy industrial assault on the senses.

Once again pushing a thorn into the claw of the American right and rallying against present-day injustices Jourgensen picks off – amongst other things – misogyny, violence against women and the Incel movement in ‘B.D.E.’ (aka ‘Big Dick Enemy’), and reflects on the ridiculousness of certain politicians in ‘Aryan Embarrassment’ (with its heavily sarcastically retread of ‘make America hate again’). Right-wing extremism is targeted in ‘Goddamn White Trash’ (‘uneducated and ready for war’, he opens, before observing ‘indoctrinated, the facts are ignored’), and the title of ‘Just Stop Oil’ speaks for itself.


photo by Derick Smith

But the lyrics need a vehicle for their delivery and in that respect ‘HOPIUMFORTHEMASSES’ is at the top of the class. Bandmates Monte Pittman and Cesar Soto (guitars), John Bechdel (keyboards), Paul D’Amour (bass) and Roy Mayorga are complicit in this aural battering, with guests Pepper Keenan, Jello Biafra and Eugene Hütz bringing their own petrol to the conflagration. The aforementioned third single and album opener ‘B.D.E’ is as good as it gets in terms of raising expectations of what to expect over the forthcoming forty minutes, while ‘TV War’ blazes along like the insurrection which inspired it. As the album plays out ‘Cult Of Suffering’ offers a curveball with its lounge lizard vibe and thickly layered guitars and ‘Ricky’s Hand’ offers up an almost Sisters Of Mercy’-like Euro-metal bouncealong. If hope is indeed a dangerous thing, as Morgan Freeman suggested in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, then ‘HOPIUMFORTHEMASSES’ is a stirring wake-up call.

Video clips:
‘B.D.E.’ -
‘Goddamn White Trash’ -
‘New Religion’ -
‘Just Stop Oil’ -

© John Tucker March 2024