Moral Hygiene has quickly become one of my favorite records of 2021 and I’m rather surprised at the reason why. Perhaps it’s the rather upbeat sonics, or maybe the lyrics that take a slightly less abrasive and more optimistic tone than much the band’s previous record. But really, what I think it comes down to, is the fact that Ministry mastermind Al Jourgensen has come back to embrace some of the soundscapes found in the band’s earlier releases.
Jourgensen could have easily held on to the darkness that has blanketed so much of America in recent times, and he doesn’t exactly stray from this lyrically, with the opener “Alert Level.” Yet as he tells us “let’s get ready to die,” one can’t help but notice the rather hopeful sounding uptempo music the words are in enmeshed in. It’s like Al is clearly expressing the direness of the situation but uses the sonic atmosphere to make us feel motivated to make changes in our lives and fight the battle we all need to participate in if we’re going to make it through this tumultuous epoch in human history. It’s a different, rather fresh type of Ministry record.
The absolute standout on Moral Hygiene is the brilliant cover of “Search and Destroy” featuring Billy Morrison on guitar. If FM rock radio was still a thing, this would be all over it. An accessible song on what really is a very accessible record.
“Good Trouble,” the first single released, is a driving, bass heavy track with essences of the band’s early days. Gotta love those keyboards. It’s a moving, fluid song that surprised many when it first hit the internets.
“Disinformation” also has a great low-end sound to it that Ministry is known for. And the bass (Tony Campos) continues to impress on cuts like “Believe Me.” Incredibly catchy chorus thanks to John Bechdel’s keys. Believe me, this a great record… believe me.
Overall, Moral Hygiene, is without any doubt, a political record, however, it’s cut from a different cloth than many of Ministry’s past efforts in the sense that takes a much more positive tone. According to Jourgensen, “This may sound crazy but I’m more hopeful about 2021 than I have been in two decades at least,” he says. “Because I do see things changing; people are starting to see through all the bullshit and want to get back to actual decorum in society. We could just treat each other nicely and be treated nicely in return. I never thought Ministry would be in the position of preaching traditional values, but this is the rebellion now.”
Moral Hygiene releases on October 1, 2021 and can be pre-ordered here via Nuclear Blast.