"Relapse" is the 12th full-length studio album wtih original material by US industrial metal act Ministry. The album was released through 13th Planet Records in March 2012. "The Last Sucker (2007)" was meant to have been the last studio album with original material released by Ministry, as bandleader Al Jourgensen announced that he would end the band after the tour in support of the album to concentrate on managing his 13th Planet Records label. But Al´s a rocker and probably missed the limelight so after a 4 year hiatus Ministry return with "Relapse".
Listening to "Relapse" it can´t be said enough times how bad a decision it was to disband Ministry and how equally great a decision it was to resurrect the band. The band´s industrial/thrash/punked metal style is intact and powerful as ever. No signs of fatigue here. Al Jourgensen is as provocative as ever with his politically charged or drug advocating lyrics. Always delivered with a gleam in the eye though. He has gathered a team of competent musicians to execute his plan in Tommy Victor (Prong, Danzig) on guitars, Mike Scaccia (Rigor Mortis) on guitars, Tony Campos (Soulfly, Prong, Possessed) on bass and Casey Orr (Gwar, Rigor Mortis) on bass. Al Jourgensen is responsible for vocals, guitars, programming (including drum programming) and keyboards.
"Relapse" is quite the varied album with both fast paced and aggressive tracks like "Double Tap" and "FreeFall", more melodic tracks like "99 Percenter" and "Bloodlust" (both strongly influenced by Killing Joke) and industrial tinged tracks like the title track and "Git up Get Out 'n Vote". The inclusion of a cover of "United Forces" by S.O.D. is successful too. The inclusion of spoken samples are as usual an important element in the music.
Featuring a powerful and professional sound production, excellent musicianship and great songwriting, "Relapse" is quite the successful release to my ears. My only complaint would probably be about the programmed drums which does become a bit one-dimensional sounding. The programming is varied enough, but it´s the artificial sound of the drums that could probably have sounded slightly better with a more varied/dynamic drum production. This is a minor issue though and a 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.