|Dead End Drive-In: Now Showing - Ministry|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Saturday, 24 August 2013 04:00|
With long-time Ministry guitarist Mike Scaccia dying suddenly last December, passing away the morning after suffering a heart attack while performing with his other band Rigor Mortis, the appearance of 'Enjoy The Quiet' appears to be quite the tribute.
With a new Ministry album - 'From Beer To Eternity' - imminent, and one that includes a song penned by mainman Al Jourgensen immediately after Scaccia's sad death aged just 47, (namely 'Change Of Luck'), it's easy to see that the guitarist's legacy doesn't look like fading in the foreseeable future...and rightly so.
I was lucky enough to catch Ministry live last year on one of the handful of UK shows scattered around the several hours of British summertime so knew exactly what to expect of the Wacken live set captured on film several weeks later. I also knew what a fine tribute to the band's fallen guitarist the retail release of the show would be, and that was before I even saw the cover art, Scaccia taking the photographic acclaim, his guitar obscuring the face of his iconic bandmate.
Professionally filmed and therefore looking, as well as sounding, fantastic, 'Live At Wacken 2012' perfectly captures modern Ministry: from the opening Jourgensen intro video - classily interspersed throughout show opener 'Ghouldiggers' - to closer 'Thieves' via nine noisy song gems fuelled by breakneck drumming courtesy of Aaron Rossi, this impressive concert footage confirms a number of things about the Ministry of this decade; that the amount of vocals Jourgensen actually sings live remains hugely questionable - that strategically-placed skull on the micstand obscuring the legendary frontman's mouth on many occasions - but also that Ministry remains one of the most potent, politically-enraged bands on the planet.
They put on a hell of a show too, the pair of giant video screens flanking the Wacken stage pumping out propaganda and a lethal combination of kitsch and killer visuals to enhance the audio; go-go dancers mixing it up with political figures on 'LiesLiesLies', Jourgensen's image dwarfing his diminutive self on the massive '99 Percenters'.
Whatever we say about Jourgensen, the 55 year old frontman continues to push boundaries and fuse it to ear-cracking, jaw-breaking industrial rock that continues to inspire, question and educate. Also, as testified by the crowd captured on this fine concert film, he fashions tunes perfect to bang your fucking head to. In fact, the only downside to the entire show footage is the lowest common denominator cameraman's insistence on zoning in on a young girl in a bikini top headbanging over the barrier: it becomes as basic as low quality live football broadcasting - where the camera hangs for a second too long on any female with blonde hair in a stadium crowd - and is a little annoying come its millionth appearance. It's a simple complaint though, with little bearing on the fantastic viewing experience that 'Enjoy The Quiet' provides.
The running time of the 2012 Wacken show comes in at 58 minutes, itself usurped by the bonus features on the DVD of this CD/DVD combo set. In fact, those bonus features threatened to outdo the main feature in more ways than just the running time...
Clocking in at a tidy 76 minutes, the bonus footage on the DVD is actually Ministry's live performance from Wacken in 2006. That in itself appears to be a tasty extra feature, one look at the band's line-up from that show confirming its high appeal.
Joining Jourgensen and Scaccia several years ago were Prong's Tommy Victor on guitar, Killing Joke's Paul Raven on bass, and Slipknot's Joey Jordison on drums: a band line-up as impressive as they come, I'm sure you'll agree.
Sadly, the performance footage doesn't quite live up to the performance itself or the genius of the musicians throwing it down.
Looking like it has been transferred from second generation VHS would have been acceptable had this concert been filmed before digital, let alone hi-def, camerawork became the norm, but this was filmed just half a dozen years before the main feature, the 2006 Wacken footage sounding and looking piss weak compared to the 2012 show captured on this disc. The aspect ratio has been manhandled and stretched so much to fit that it starts to resemble one of Vince Neil's t-shirts. It's a shame too, because the line-up is killer and the setlist, opening with a monstrous 'Fear Is Big Business', is a smasher. Containing fourteen songs, the set is longer than that of the 2012 show but it's obvious as to why this show has been tagged on as a bonus, the video quality a shadow of the newer footage.
The Digital Versatile Disc in the 'Enjoy The Quiet' set is actually only one of three discs: the other two are CDs, one for each of the Wacken performances from the DVD. The 2012 show sounds great and could be a live audio album in its own right, the 2006 effort sounding like a bootleg in comparison. With the audio obviously ripped straight from the DVD footage without a whiff of studio enhancement (mastering/production-wise, not overdubs), the earlier performance remains rooted in 'Added Extra' territory.
Let that take nothing away from this release as a whole though. The Wacken 2012 show provides great entertainment and, when compared to recent live concert films from the likes of Papa Roach, is one of the more eye-catching in some years, a proper spectacle.
The packaging is a major plus point too: a smart digipack covered in great live shots of the 2012 line-up contains the three discs, each a different coloured variation of the same cool skull 'n' bones design, and the accompanying 16-page booklet contains some excellent live photographs. All in all this set - the visuals captured on a Region Free NTSC disc - is a worthy addition to any music collection, and a perfect companion piece to Ministry's forthcoming album.
Wacken 2012 setlist:
Wacken 2006 setlist:
01. Fear Is Big Business