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Houses Of The Molé
Sanctuary Records
7/6/2004 - Review by: MM
Houses Of The Molé Ministry 2004 Sanctuary Records Reviewed by: MM

Track Listing
1. 2. No W
3. Waiting
4. Worthless
5. Wrong
6. Warp City
7. WTV
8. World
10. Worm

After taking sojourns of 4-5 years between albums, Ministry has already released the follow-up to 2003’s Animositisomina. The sudden appearance of Houses Of The Molé could be attributed to the recent sobriety and subsequent motivation of Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen, but the purpose and theme of the album of the album suggests another reason entirely.

The entirety of Houses Of The Molé is a direct attack on the current Presidential administration and its leader, George W Bush. It’s no coincidence that every track starts with the letter “W”, with the exception of “No W” – a conceptual to Ministry’s classic “NWO”. Even the title is a reference to the Oval Office (courtesy of Rolling Stone):

"We like tipping our hits to classic rock, so why not [Led Zeppelin's] Houses of the Holy?" says Jourgensen, laughing. "Besides, I live in Texas, and molé is a way of life down here. It's a brown, Mexican chocolate sauce that suspiciously looks like crude oil. And with the appetite of this administration for that, I just thought it all fit together."

As a result, this is an album that strays away from the normal canon of releases and says more about the artist then most recordings. The closest example of this offhand is Marvin Gaye’s Here, My Dear – an album of which the proceeds were donated to Gaye’s ex-wife as part of an alimony settlement (hence, the title). Here, My Dear was rife with acerbic sarcasm and not the soulful ballads that Gaye was known more for.

Houses Of The Molé is similar in that it is focused directly on one subject that Jourgensen only occasionally ventures into. Comparisons have been drawn to Ministry’s seminal Psalm 69, but only a handful of that album’s songs were directed at George Bush Sr. On Houses Of The Molé, ALL of the attention is directed at one man.

With all of that having been said, the music on Houses Of The Molé, as a result of being that focused and angry, is some of Ministry’s best in years. The departure of longtime bassist Paul Barker hasn’t slowed Jourgensen down one iota in his quest to rid the US government of the man he feels has ruined our country.

To do so, Jourgensen and current bandmates Mike Scaccia (guitar), John Monte (bass) and Mark Baker (drums) have broughr a fierce recording that rivals Ministry’s best work. The opening track, “No W”, serves as a “conceptual sequel” to “NWO” with samples of George W over an explosive wave of industrial noise as Jourgensen declares that “Ask me why you’re feeling screwed/And I’ll give you the answer/There’s a Colon Dick and Bush/Just a hammerin’ away”.

But the album isn’t all rage and white noise. Tracks such as “Wrong” bring rhythms worthy of any dance club, and “WKYJ” and the continuation of the “TV” series (“WTV”) offer up the biting wit that Jourgensen also employs as a stock in trade.

The samples themselves become an instrument in and of themselves, as rarely have they been put to better use in Jourgensen’s hands. Along with the samples of George W, the many and varied snippets in “WTV” serve to illustrate the current state of our pop culture – and how easily it can be used to manipulate us. In another fine example, the tale sampled for the beginning of “Warp City” incites both laughter and despair.

Overall, the album may be criminally overlooked, as people tend to shy away from full-lengths political statements. And make no mistake, Houses Of The Molé is as close to a political manifesto as Jourgensen can issue without becoming a presidential candidate himself. But beyond that is the work of a legendary composer and performer that’s never been as lean, as focused, or as dangerous as he is now.

Highly recommended.

--MM 07.06.04

Houses Of The Molé
Sanctuary Records



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