There is nothing like a tsunami of stupid to get Al Jourgensen motivated. MINISTRY have been an intermittent force for subversive good for a startling 40 years now, and no one sensible would dispute that the great man's utterly unique vision has led to some of the most absurdly entertaining records in heavy music history. In truth, however, not everything the band have released in recent times has hit the demented heights of "Psalm 69", with later, post-hiatus works like "Relapse" and "From Beer To Eternity" seeming rather too formulaic to destroy desired targets as intended. Fortunately, 2018's "AmeriKKKant" was a huge step in the right direction, partly because the world was in a sufficiently appalling state that MINISTRY's legendary blend of skull-shattering industrial metal and sardonic sloganeering made perfect sense all over again. Three years on and global anxiety levels are off the scale, and so a few giant belly laughs and a shitload of killer riffs are just what the lysergic physician ordered. "Moral Hygiene" delivers the expected goods with more conviction and clarity than on any MINISTRY record this century.
With the Former Guy continuing to provide endless, beyond-parody spoken word material for Jourgensen to sample and repurpose, "Moral Hygiene" ends up making much the same point as its fiery predecessor. But these are uniformly stronger songs than those on "AmeriKKKant", and the anger behind them feels a little more pointed and focused. Fittingly, Jello Biafra pops up to drop some snarling truth bullets during "Sabotage is Sex" and the old LARD team are suddenly back together (new LARD material is reportedly imminent, incidentally) and rolling back the bitter years as only two life-long thorns in the mainstream's side can be. Similarly, a thunderous and snotty cover of IGGY AND THE STOOGES' "Search and Destroy" (featuring BILLY IDOL alumnus Billy Morrison on guitar) is one of those rare occasions when the phrase "they made it their own!" seems genuinely appropriate. Elsewhere, epic opener "Alert Level" is one of the heaviest and weirdest things Jourgensen has ever committed to tape; "Good Trouble" is a classic MINISTRY tooth rattler and a pocket manifesto for the band's entire ethos; "Believe Me" is clattering, robot-punk arena rock with a bad attitude and a hard on for "Eliminator"-era ZZ TOP. And just to make sure that nobody is getting comfortable, a closing brace of "Death Toll" (all squelchy dub, brittle hip-hop beats and COVID panic) and "TV Song #6" (absolute, all-bets-are-off, electro-metal bedlam) will leave most heads violently spinning. Hallelujah.