From the Vault...


Ministry & Co-Conspirators
"Cover Up"

© 13th Planet Records
Year of Release: 2008

track listing
  • Under My Thumb
  • Bang A Gong
  • Radar Love
  • Space Truckin'
  • Black Betty
  • Mississippi Queen
  • Just Got Paid
  • Roadhouse Blues
  • Supernaut
  • Lay Lady Lay
  • What A Wonderful World
  • What A Wonderful World
    (Short Slow Version)
  • What A Wonderful World
    (Short Fast Version)
  • Willie Stigmata

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    Ministry & Co-Conspirators
    "Cover Up"

    The industrial band Ministry debuts this week, with an album over cover tunes. They perform these songs with Co-Conspirators. Cover Up, released in 2008, was their first album consisting of cover tunes. Two years later, they released the second of cover tunes, Undercover. The cover tunes are from other artists. For Undercover, they recorded songs by other artists, likewise re-recordings of their own songs (Ministry).

    The remakes here are hard driving Rock. Just as rocking as the originals, but they rock out even more, and much harder. Starting the album is the Rolling Stones' "Under My Thumb." A very impressive remake, it was nominated for a Grammy in 2009, in the category of "Best Metal Performance." As nominated, the winner was Metallica's "My Apocalpse." Metallica -- Ministry's version of the Stones' classic could pass as Metallica, especially the vocals. The two songs that follow, are also impressive hard rockers: T. Rex's "Bang A Gong," and Golden Earring's "Radar Love."

    Deep Purple's "Space Truckin'" is the next track, as this song wasn't really a well-known familiar Purple tune for me, but Ministry rocks it, giving it their own signature sound. And it rocks, just as the others. One of the greatest rock and roll songs was Ram Jam, and Mountain's "Mississippi Queen." Again, Ministry's versions of both songs are exceptionally well. Rocking in true form, that only Ministry can. Taking on as a remake "Black Betty" is an ultimate challenge. Speed metal at its finest for Ministry. And "Mississippi Queen" is no exception for Ministry either. Hard driving rock, heavy metal, energized vocals, and faster paced that its original by Mountain. Both songs challenging to remake? Yes, mission accomplished.

    ZZ Top's "Just Got Paid" is another song that was not considered a "well-known" track from the little band from Texas. Ministry's speed metal to this song is another challenging result. Fast and hard hard music, rough vocals, and all-in-all, it's Rocking. The Doors' "Roadhouse Blues" gets another different sounding treatment. Very, very fast speed metal. It's totally different than it's original.

    Another un-wellknown song, yet by a popular band -- Black Sabbath's "Supernaut" is another hard rocking Ministry track. This song is very experimental. It truly has Ministry's own touch, and one of the best songs on this cover album. Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" is another well-made remade track. It's different than the original, impressive. Ministry (again) puts their own signature touch to this Dylan classic. (Just a coincidence... Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline was reviewed this week, in 2015. "Lay Lady Lay" was from this album.) Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World" gets the Ministry touch, and it's very haunting. A good haunting, mind you. It's Ministry, in their own unique way. In fact, towards it's end, it returns to fast, speed metal.

    There are 3 hidden tracks on Cover Up, and Ministry had a habit of throwing these hidden tracks in between multiple small tracks, consisting of 4 to 5 seconds of silence. The first hidden track is found as "Track 23" -- "What A Wonderful World" (Short Slow Version); this is the "haunting" section only, where previously, the haunting was heard, leading into the thrash/hardcore speed metal rock as mentioned before. I have to mention, the haunting of this track sounds like a haunting song by Alice Cooper, vocals and all. And for those who just want to hear the thrash/hardcore speed metal of this song, there is Track 44 -- "What A Wonderful World" (Short Fast Version).

    The last hidden track is found as Track 69 -- "Willie Stigmata." "Stigmata" was originally recorded by Ministry, from their 1988 album, The Land Of Rape And Honey. On this Track (69), it is sung by an anonymous fan, having a Willie Nelson singing voice. Does it really sound like Willie? In some places, yes. Actually, better than Willie. Yet it sounds more novelty, and whoever is this anonymous fan, he sings it fairly well.

    Ministry's sound heard on Cover Up is not what you would expect, for most listener's ears. Like the Rollin Bands reviewed last week, both Ministry and Rollins Band you would probably not hear alot on AM / FM radio. Industrial Rock music is loud, hard, music. Ministry's sound is much faster, as in speed-metal. (Metallica started out as speed metal also.) Thrash Metal is another term for speed metal. One reviewer mentioned Ministry's version of "Roadhouse Blues" as "machine-gun thrash." Thrash/Speed Metal definitely defines this. But for some, this music may just sound like noise, and the vocals are as loud and thrash, where some would say that this "singing" sounds like "screaming." (At least on Cover Up the "screaming vocals" are easy to understand, all to the liking that these are cover songs. And for those who are familiar with the orignal versions, the vocals may sound loud and brash, the lyrics are easy to decipher.

    Ministry has gone through many musical styles. From their beginings, they started as synth-pop, then more to industrial. Industrial dance. Industrial metal. Digital grunge. Political thrash (their dislike towards President G.W. Bush). The band was all focused on its lead singer, Al Jourgensen. 2007's The Last Sucker was supposedly their last studio album. This album was the last in its anti-George W. Bush trilogy of albums. The previous two albums were Houses of the Mole (2004) and Rio Grande Blood (2006). Live and remix albums folowed. Although The Last Sucker was supposed to be their final album, Ministry returned with new more studio albums in 2012 (Relapse), 2013 (From Beer To Eternity),

    Never say never ... Ministry is well-known for their hard rock Industrial sound. Cover Up is a fine assortment of cover tunes by Ministry, in their uniqueness and style. It's album cover could be controversial. A picture of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline in their car, from November 22, 1963. The cover shows both JFK and Jackie, although JFK has a circular target bullet on his head, and Jackie is shown with sunglasses, smoking a cigarette. I'm not sure how this represent the album's title Cover Up; this would be my only complaint. Musically, this album is a good hard rock album of cover tunes. Some very impressive versions here by Ministry, and for the hard fan in general, an album that will be enjoyed.

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