It’s the beginning of the 90s and the industrial kind has intruded the metal kind and is here to stay. Bands from all the central music scenes of the world are springing up and melt our minds with that dance / punk / a bit thrash music that’s full of samples, synthesizers, leitmotivs and reoccurring riffs on guitars that enslave your thoughts with their loops and so on. All in all, industrial metal is about sweet ‘trips’ and hyper trance in just one package. Sometime at that point, Ministry’s “Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs” pops up and offers a manifest of paranoia and pure violence that makes people go mental. Rumors have it that a few dead guys were resurrected, but I won’t put my palm on the Bible.
Despite the fact that Ministry introduced themselves in the music industry as a new wave synth pop outfit by releasing “With Sympathy” (1983) and “Twitch” (1986), they took a huge turn in their career with “The Land of Rape and Honey” (1988) and “The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste” (1989), causing the crowd’s interest to hit red levels with their explosive industrial music. In 1992 however, Ministry released a huge bomb that ripped our skins. It was ‘Psalm 69”; a record serving as a cornerstone of the genre, an album that knocked the sense out of their fans and rocketed Ministry’s reputation.
It was the band’s fifth album, bearing the title “ΚΕΦΑΛΗ ΞΘ”, which is made up of κεφαλή (kephalē), a Greek word meaning “head” (and by extension “heading” or “chapter”), and ΞΘ, the number 69 in Greek numerals. The title of the album is directly linked to chapter 69 of The Book of Lies, a written work of Aleister Crowley, where he uses the expression “The way to succeed and the way to suck eggs” as a pun for the 69 sex position (“suck seed” and “suck eggs”). Moreover, Crowley titled the chapter ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ, Greek κεφαλή or “head” and ΞΘ or “69” (both slang in English for oral sex – but not the original ancient Greek words).
The album was released in July 1992 via Sire, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. It was the first time that the Ministry managed to appeal to a wider audience by entering the musical champions league of the mainstream bands of that era. The band gained airplay on radio music stations, was featured in many TV programs and other media. “Psalm 69” also marks the advent of Mike Scaccia in the band, after Al Jourgensen’s instigation and in fact this album was their first joint release. In general, it is widely known that uncle Al and the amazing former guitarist of Rigor Mortis, Mike Scaccia – may he rest in peace – brought in a real dimension the proverb “it takes one to know one”. One of the most fun facts of that recording was that the label Sire gave $ 750,000 to Ministry to make the record, but the twins of disaster spent almost a thousand dollars a day on drugs (I want to put heart emojis but I cannot).
Just One Fix
One of the record’s hits was “Jesus Built My Hotrod”, in which Gibby Haynes of Butthole Surfers is featured on guest vocals. Great minds think alike, so he fitted in quite well. As a matter of fact, Jourgensen once said:
“Gibby came down completely drunk off his ass to the studio we’re at in Chicago. He couldn’t even sit on a stool, let alone sing. I mean, he was wasted. He fell off the stool about ten times during the recording of that vocal. He made no sense and it was just gibberish. So I spent two weeks editing tape of what he did”.
Jesus Built My Hotrod
“Psalm 69” is a brilliant record for so many reasons; inspiration, samples, dynamics, wittiness… and kickass lyrical themes. Jourgensen’s point of view is quite spectacular and the way he talks down on people and thoughts is even more impressive. America is dying both ethically and economically, it’s filled with pseudo – patriotism, drugs/food/consuming addictions, its people are stuck with irrational religious crap and on top of that, Jourgensen is flashing his middle finger towards the entire Bush family. Those are a few things that make you love Ministry. One of the record’s most special moments is the track ‘Scarecrow’, which is a slower and darker interpretation of Led Zeppelin’s “When The Leeve Breaks”.
Never again has a similar record been released and maybe it never will. This schizophrenia lurking inside the majestic yet bestial metallic riffs, the chaotic samples that offer the euphoria of the market’s best pot, the brutality and vulgarity in Uncle Al’s vocals and this head – on – head attack against all those who think that can use people as puppets, confirm the thesis in the beginning of this paragraph.
Well, enough with all that, you got the gist. In Greece it seems that our prayers have been answered. Ministry will at last visit Athens on June 1rst and Thessaloniki on June 2nd at Piraeus 117 Academy and Principal Club Theatre (FIX area) respectively. I’M ALREADY PISSING MYSELF.
Listen to the entire record here: