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CONCERT REVIEW: MINISTRY @ THE HOUSE OF BLUES, SAN DIEGO, CA (12.18.18)

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Ministry’s brand of ‘no-frills’ industrial metal was just what the Doctor ordered on Tuesday night at the San Diego House of Blues.  Their music was powerful, their lyrics relevant, and their live performance one of the best I have seen all year.  Al Jourgensen continues to fly under the radar as one of metals best frontmen and only gets better with age!

Ministry may be one of the most underappreciated bands touring the states this year.  Thought by many to be the pioneers of industrial metal, this incredible band has yet taken the world by storm in 2018 in support of their recent release, AmeriKKKant.  If you haven’t given this album a spin, you might be missing out on one of the year’s best metal releases and possibly one of Ministry’s best since 1992’s Psalm 69.  Their distinct sound is like no other on the scene today and continues to push the boundaries with music that is heavy, thought-provoking, yet unapologetic.

On Tuesday December 18th, Ministry took over the House of Blues in San Diego, CA for night of musical mayhem that challenged the mind and inspired the soul. Whether you were a long-time follower of the band or just started listening to their music, there was something for everyone who attended the show.  And for lifelong fans like myself, we’d get a chance to hear some tracks off 1988’s sensational release, The Land of Rape and Honey. This is by far my favorite Ministry release and was stoked that some of these tracks would be making it to an already ferocious setlist.

Kicking off the evening was a ridiculously talented band from New Zealand known as Alien Weaponry. It was clear from the moment these young bucks took the stage that this band was special, and they failed to disappoint the raucous San Diego crowd.  After an intense set, all I could say was “WOW”.  Next up was Carpenter Brut.  This French synthwave trio took it up a notch with a sound so fierce (and yet so beautiful), it left little to be desired. However, many in attendance commented that the band seemed misplaced on the bill and would have preferred a band with a much harder sound.  I disagree.  Carpenter Brut checked off all the boxes for me with a show that was musically (as well as visually).

After a short break, Ministry took the stage and immediately spun the near-capacity crowd into hyper-drive with their first tracks of the night, "Twilight Zone" and "Victims of a Clown".  These were the perfect songs to kick off the show and set the stage for an amazing night of metal in the Gaslamp District.  Next up was "We’re Tired of It”.  It’s my favorite song off AmeriKKKant and took energy levels to a whole new level down in the pit.  For the next hour and a half, Al Jourgensen and company absolutely killed it with an amazing setlist that spanned their entire 14-disc catalog.  

Throughout the show, Ministry’s amazing chemistry was showcased by an unbelievable group of musicians including the ever-talented Derek Abrams on Drums, Sin Quirin and Cesar Soto on Guitar, Tony Campos on Bass, and John Bechdel on keys.  I’m sure it's not easy to pull off a show like this with so much talent on stage at any given time, but this band does it in fine fashion.  Ministry wrapped up their powerful set with a killer encore including “N.W.O.”, "Thieves”, and “So What”.  Simply electrifying ending to a surgically precise set of unabridged metal mayhem in San Diego.

 

Matthew Belter

Editor - Long Beach

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