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3.08 | 6 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1996

Filed under Industrial Metal


1. Reload (2:25)
2. Filth Pig (6:19)
3. Lava (6:30)
4. Crumbs (4:14)
5. Useless (5:55)
6. Dead Guy (5:15)
7. Game Show (7:45)
8. The Fall (4:54)
9. Lay Lady Lay (5:44)
10. Brick Windows (5:23)

Total Time: 54:28


- Al Jourgensen / vocals, guitar, keyboards, mandolin, harmonica, pedal steel, piano
- Paul Barker / bass, vocals, programming

About this release

Released by Warner Bros on January 30, 1996.

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A string of fantastic albums preceded what is likely to be Ministry's least experimental yet their most brash release they've ever put out- 1996's Filth Pig.

Up to this point, Ministry's music had been extremely eclectic, installing them permanently as one of the greatest industrial metal acts to ever be. Psalm 69 marked their entry into the 1990's, as well as the third album to achieve fantastic reception and hailed as fantastic upon it's release. Four years later however Filth Pig changed that landscape as Ministry opted for a much more caustic and barbaric version of themselves- one that skipped the pleasantries of unusual influences and time signatures and skipped straight to the meal. This meant much more focus on down-tuned guitars and a newfound (and rather perplexing) sludge metal synthesis. This means that much of the "industrial" sound that made Ministry unique was replaced with a much more by-the-numbers heavy metal approach, replete with pounding drum hooks, throbbing guitar riffs- the whole shebang. But such a drastic change is hard to actually accomplish with a straight face...and it seemed that not even the great Ministry could manage the feat.

When it comes down to it, Filth Pig lacks the substance it's predecessors. The track 'Lava', while being a guilty pleasure song with it's wavering distortion and Al Jourgensen's hissing vocal backdrop, is a perfect example of how fleeting the experience this album brings is, as it follows practically the same structure as most of the other songs like 'Crumbs' and 'Useless'. To contrast, The Mind is a Terrible Thing To Taste had a tracklist that constantly changed from song to song, each one having a unique vibe. Filth Pig's songs seem to just bleed into eachother boringly, to the point where it sometimes becomes hard to tell between one and another. The sludgy hooks and beefy atmosphere seems more often than not bloated and overblown and are not nearly enough to keep the album afloat. The overall result is a group of brooding tunes that leave little-to-no lasting impact with their grandiose potential, but ultimately no extra spice to get them kicking like classic Ministry tunes.
In 1992, Ministry made their ultimate breakthrough album with Psalm 69. While the band delivered some of the earliest examples of industrial metal back in the late 80's, Psalm 69 cemented itself as THE essential industrial metal album. The album blended the gritty atmosphere of the aforementioned genre with the speed and aggression of thrash metal, resulting in an instant classic in my book.

Fast-forward four years later, the band dropped Filth Pig. Filth Pig takes quite a different approach to the thrash-oriented industrial metal sound of the previous two albums. This album rather goes in the sludgy direction of fellow industrial metal pioneers Godflesh. Just take a listen to the groovy dirge of "Lava" and you'll see what I mean. Al Jourgensen's vocals are even more raspy this time around, his stark vocals contrast well with the grit of the music. "Crumbs" follows in the same mid-paced sludgy direction, with a bit more crashing percussion and dissonance. Paul Barker gets a short but neat little deep bassline in the middle of the song, which contrasts well with the almost black metal-dissonance that immediately follows.

The crushing "Dead Guy" may very well be my favorite on the album. Jourgensen's vocal attack on this track just bursts with attitude. The crunching bass/guitar interplay that opens up the track is absolutely killer. The following track, "Game Show" is a lot more misanthropic with downwards chromatic guitar licks and an atmosphere that expresses a strong sense of doom. Granted, most of the album does have a very stark gloomy atmosphere.

While not quite in the same league as The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste or Psalm 69, Filth Pig is a great album that showed the band trying something a bit different. The album title certainly fits, as I can't think of much else that fits the definition of filthy industrial metal quite like this one. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!

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