This concert, in the 9,000-seat UIC pavilion, is a major show of force by the local purveyors of hellish guitar noise and crushing rhythms, coming on the heels of their celebrated performances in the number-two spot of this summer’s Lollapalooza festival. Ministry is a two-man industrial-metal studio operation that goes on the road with a bristling guitar and drum corps; it’s at once more serious and less serious than some of its noisy counterparts. On the one hand, Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker have a genuine and raging contempt for a whole list of things headed by the strictures of the U.S. government and the U.S. record industry, and they back it up with a uniquely high-volume guitar attack of such unrelenting violence that you’re almost lost for a comparison. On the other hand, sometimes the band seems almost too much over the top: while over their last three albums (The Land of Rape and Honey, A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste, and the new Psalm 69) they’ve focused their sound nicely (if nicely is the word I want), some of the accompanying foofaraw–primarily some of Jourgensen’s ogre-esque vocals–flirts (I said flirts) with the cartoony. That said, Ministry in concert is something to see. At the band’s New Year’s show at the Riv some years ago, the last time Ministry played Chicago in an enclosed space, the net effect was akin to the dazed and awful feeling you might have being in the front of a subway train just before it hits a wall. Prepare for potential ear bleeding. Helmet and Sepultura open. Friday, 7:30 PM, pavilion, University of Illinois at Chicago, Harrison and Racine; 413-5700 or 559-1212.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Gene Ambo.