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Not the End Just Yet: Industrial Giants Ministry Announces New Album and Final Reunion with Paul Barker

Updated: May 20

by Andrea Coloma

For over four decades, Ministry has been a cornerstone of industrial music, stirring out sonic raids that redefined aggression. But according to frontman Al Jourgensen, the band is preparing to take its final bow with one last album.

The news comes after the release of Ministry's latest album, "Hopiumforthemasses" in March 2024. However, in interviews, Jourgensen revealed there's one more chapter to be written. This final album will see the much-anticipated return of bassist Paul Barker, reuniting him with Jourgensen after his departure in the 2003. Barker was a core member during Ministry's golden age, contributing to albums like "The Land of Rape and Honey" and "Animositisomina." His return with Ministry promises a powerful adieu for longtime fans.  

Jourgensen's reasoning for ending Ministry seems to be a combination of creative fulfillment and a desire to go out on a high note. He's mentioned in interviews that he feels the band is at a strong point and doesn't want to risk diminishing their legacy by continuing past their peak.

The final album is set to begin recording in June 2024, with a release date yet to be announced. While details are foggy, one thing is certain: Ministry's farewell swears to be a momentous occasion, a chance to witness industrial titans reuniting for one last sonic explosion.

He shared his thoughts on the new album during an interview with Loudwire Nights:

"We have one more. When, when I [previously said we had one more album left to do], I just finished Hopium. So we have one more new record coming out, which I'm re-recruiting an old mate from the early days. Paul Barker is gonna rejoin the band and we're gonna record that together and that will be our last one. There comes a point in time where — there's only so many notes in a musical scale, there's only so many things you can do, I think we've kind of perfected our genre, whatever genre that is. People like to call it industrial or whatever; I just call it music. But it is certainly our genre. And there comes a point in time where you don't wanna start on the decline. And we're all at the right ages. We're peaking at the right time. And the next album and the final album should be fresh because bringing Paul Barker back into the fold for the last album, I think, is… We've all grown up in the last 40 years. And I do know I work well with him in the studio. as is obvious with the '90s albums that we did. So, yeah, I'm looking forward to the next one. But after that, what am I gonna do to top that? And the world's not gonna suddenly magically change by then. But there comes a point in time musically where anything from here is gonna be downhill. I see so many bands do that. And I don't need the money, I don't need the whatever. So I think it's a good time to stop. I just turned 65, which means that I'm getting like my mailbox stuffed with AARP shit. I took my piercings out. I took my dreads out. I decided at 65, I'm gonna become an adult. [Laughs] Good luck with that."

Jourgensen also dropped another interesting detail: in company with their final album, Ministry is revisiting their roots. They'll be re-recording parts of their debut album, "With Sympathy." This reimagining holds personal significance for Jourgensen, who has previously expressed frustration with the original recording process. He claims the record company wielded significant control over the album's direction, something he wants to rectify with this new version. I can't wait for this.

I had the fortunate opportunity to attend the recent Ministry's "Hopiumforthemasses" tour at Terminal 5 in New York City. The show featured a stellar lineup, including Front Line Assembly, and Gary Numan. Ministry's performance was electrifying, and their raw energy undeniably intensified the entire crowd. Tracks from my favorite album "The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste" were especially impactful to me, and I found myself thoroughly immersed throughout their set. 

Hopiumforthemasses Tour in Terminal 5, NYC. Photos by Andrea Coloma

 Hopiumforthemasses Tour in Terminal 5, NYC. Photos by Andrea Coloma

Ministry recently played at Cruel World Festival, delivering fans to hear "With Sympathy" live. While not a full album play, Ministry's Cruel World Fest set was a synth-pop revelation. They mined rarely played tracks from their 1983 debut, including "Work for Love" and "I'm Falling," which hadn't been heard live in nearly four decades. The stage reflected the album's aesthetic with fog and red roses, while a string section added depth to their early material. This unexpected plunge into Ministry's past was a captivating display of their musical evolution.

While the news of Ministry's disbandment is bittersweet, Al Jourgensen's expressed interest in pursuing film scoring offers an exciting chapter for his creative endeavors. This shift in focus is certainly something to look forward to.


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