MINISTRY – Bergen – Ole Bull Scene
The legendary industrial metal outfit Ministry spearheaded by the infamous Al Jourgensen rolled into Bergen on a rather cloudy Tuesday night to lay siege to the city. The choice of venue was cool in that Ole Bull Scene has a strangely dark charm to it that I find appealing. It is somewhat small and yet not too small, just the way I like it. Anyway, the turnout was great, but fortunately it was not totally crammed inside the venue.
The whole show had an intimate vibe to it. The band was all around superb, which is to say that it was intense and tight from the very minute the band launched into "Psalm 69". The way in which these guys delivered the songs was convincing. I was especially impressed by the bass player, Jason Christopher (ex-Prong), who laid down a thick, dark, and pulsating groove that made the hair on my sloppy arms stand up at times. The guitarists, Cesar Soto and Sinhue Quirin, also impressed me greatly and seemed to have a good chemistry between them. As to Al himself, he appeared to be in good spirits and sounded just as intense as I was hoping he would. The wave of sound that emanated from the six musicians on stage was suitably crushing and claustrophobic at times, and from where I was standing things sounded crisp and hard-hitting, although the guitars lacked a bit of definition from time to time.
The were quite a few personal highlights on this particular night. The excellent rendition of "Perma War" was awesome while the unholy trinity consisting of "Rio Grande Blood", "Senor Peligro", and "Lies Lies Lies" attained something akin to a trance-like vibe that was simply mesmerizing. In many ways, those three songs were the ones that moved me the most. They sounded so much better live compared to their studio counterparts. "Waiting" was one of only two low points of the evening for me. For some reason that one came out a little flat and uninspired in my opinion, which goes for the brand new and unreleased song entitled "Antifa" that was also aired last night. Those two cuts were the only ones that did nothing for me. "Worthless" and "Bad Blood" brought everything back on track while the the raw and yet beautifully layered "N.W.O." simply ruled. Other than that, "Just One Fix" made sure the first few rows went ape-shit before "Thieves" and "So What" ended the main set. "Filth Pig" and "Khyber Pass" served as encores and the latter was a damn-near perfect ending to a largely consistent and entertaining performance consisting of 18 tracks.
The edgy and pioneering spirit of Ministry remains intact and it is quite clear that Mr. Jourgensen still has a lot of stuff that he needs to get off his chest, both musically and lyrically. I definitely got what I came for last night.