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Ministry – Live Necronomicon

The very definition of industrial music…

Released by Cleopatra Records and reviewed by Jason Guest

Way back in what has come to be called “the day” (aka 1990), Ministry released a live video. Not a DVD, no. This was when video cassettes, those comparably massive and massively inconvenient brick-like chunks of plastic and tape, ruled the land. In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up was a glory to behold. Penned in behind a ceiling-high mesh fence that separated the band from crowd was Alain Jourgensen on vocals and guitar, Paul Barker on bass, Bill Reiflin and Martin Atkins on drums – one digital kit, the other acoustic, Mike Scaccia, Terry Roberts and William Tucker on guitar, Chris Connelly and Nivek Ogre on keys and vocals. And to top it off came an appearance by Jello Biafra to read his own rendition of ‘The Pledge of Allegiance’: “I pledge defiance to the flag of the United Snakes of Captivity, And to the Republic for which it stands, I dip it in kerosene, and stick it up the ass of you know who and light it, One nation, under God – or else…” Ten naughty noisemakers crammed on to one stage. And what a noise they made.

To this day, it remains one of the best live videos out there. And in some dark corners it’s still available for purchase, would you believe? Don’t worry if you don’t have a VHS player, more than a few people have uploaded it (in full and in bits) to YouTube. 27 years later and Cleopatra Records have released a beautifully packaged 2-CD version (see image below) with a bunch of extra tracks thrown in for good measure, all of which are covers: ‘Man Should Surrender’ and ‘No Bunny’ by the short-lived Pailhead (the band that included Minor Threat’s Ian McKaye on vocals; listen here), Skinny Puppy’s ‘Smothered Hope’, Public Image’s eponymous track, and two Lard tracks featuring Jello Biafra himself, ‘The Power Of Lard’ and ‘Hellfudge’.

Along with 1992’ Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs (named after Aleister Crowley’s favoured sexual position), 1988’s The Land of Rape and Honey and 1989’s The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste cemented Ministry’s sound. And on this release, the performances of tracks from …Rape and …Mind are so intense that they overshadow the studio versions. For those who want to understand the impact that industrial music – Ministry in particular – was having in 1990, Live Necronomicon is essential. For those that were there, this is an essential addition to their collection, if only for the extra tracks missing from the CD and VHS release of In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up. For anyone else, just buy it. This is what industrial music is, should be, and will be.

Ministry – Live Necronomicon 1CD1:

  1. Breathe
  2. The Missing
  3. Deity
  4. Man Should Surrender (Pailhead cover)
  5. No Bunny (Pailhead cover)
  6. Smothered Hope (Skinny Puppy cover)
  7. So What
  8. Burning Inside

CD2:

  1. Thieves
  2. Stigmata
  3. Public Image (Public Image cover)
  4. The Power of Lard – featuring Jello Biafra (Lard cover)
  5. Hellfudge – featuring Jello Biafra (Lard cover)
  6. The Land Of Rape And Honey

Ministry – Live Necronomicon 2

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  1. Brian McGowan says:

    Historic even! Great review. Right on the money.

  2. Gary Cordwell says:

    I had the cd and video! Seminal stuff! I need to have this in my possession