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Houses of the Mole (Sanctuary)

There's nothing like having a Republican in the White House to piss off Al Jourgensen: At least three of the most memorable releases from industrial rock's 800-pound gorilla launched noise-driven assaults on the Gipper or the Bushes.

Ministry's latest is notable on two levels: It's the first release that's arrived within two years of the band's previous effort, and it's also its first album following the departure of longtime bassist/co-writer Paul Barker. The result is Ministry at its most unrestrained and metallic, immediately starting things off with the thrashed-out invective "No W." The audio onslaughts are relentless, and the targets are obvious -- almost to a fault. The majority of the album has the guitars, percussion, and samples set on fully automatic, leaving little room to catch the breath.

Thankfully, Jourgensen touches the brakes on the throbbing "World." And in a move that will make many unsmiling industrialists gasp, things take a turn toward the darkly comic on "Warp City" and "WTV." Although Houses lacks some of the polish and atmosphere of last year's Animositisomina, Ministry proves that all its pistons are still firing.

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More by Norman Narvaja

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