Mandatory Metal: 5 Essential Ministry Songs

Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns

Heavy music is full of legendary bands boasting deep catalogs stacked with iconic songs — sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, or what to consider their best. With that in mind, we present the “Mandatory Metal” lists, which collect what we consider to be the definitive tracks from various members of the metallurgic pantheon. Up today, Ministry, those Eighties New Wave crooners turned Nineties industrial-metal miscreants, who inspired Nine Inch Nails, White Zombie, Korn and many more with their apocalyptic, weirdo cyborg thrash. Al Jourgensen and Co. are still going strong, and their latter-day albums have their fans, but in our opinion, these classic cuts are the group’s most essential. If you disagree, sound off on The Pit Facebook page.

“THIEVES”
ALBUM: THE MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO TASTE

Machine-gun choruses and mechanical grooves drive this antiestablishment tirade.
Sample lyrics: “Thieves/Thieves and liars/Murderers/Hypocrites and bastards.”

“STIGMATA (LIVE)”
ALBUM: IN CASE YOU DIDN’T FEEL LIKE SHOWING UP

Main man AI Jourgenson’s closing litany of “Fuck you!”s pretty much says it all.
Sample lyrics: “Oh, you have empty eyes/They tell me nothing, nothing but lies.”

“JUST ONE FIX”
ALBUM: PSALM 69

Jourgenson’s not-so-ironic ode to heroin defines industrial metal.
Sample lyrics: “Life keeps slipping away/Fighting in a war with damnation.”

“JESUS BUILT MY HOTROD”
ALBUM: PSALM 69

Nothing says rock & roll like slide guitar, white-trash licks and Butthole Surfer singer Gibby Haynes’ indecipherable mush of a vocal track.
Sample lyrics: “Ding a ding dang my dang a long ling long.”

“WTV”
ALBUM: HOUSES OF THE MOLE

A sonic explosion of cut-and-paste riffs, politically charged lyrics and timely samples. Call it death jazz.
Sample lyrics: “I got nothing else to do/Sit around and watch the tube/Gather information/That is useless aggravation.”