The Skyway Theatre welcomed an interesting bill to the stage. One band is over three decades into its existence while the other has embarked on its first ever U.S. tour. Ministry is an Industrial Music giant. They gave rise to a genre that has legions of loyal fans across the globe. Al Jourgensen, founding member and singer, is an instantly recognizable figure no matter where he goes. On the other end of the spectrum is where we find the opening band Alien Weaponry. They are band comprised of teenagers that are ready to make their own mark across the vast metal musical landscape. Carpenter Brut was also on the bill but due to unforeseen circumstances were unable to perform.
Alien Weaponry is a three-piece band that hails from New Zealand. Lewis de Jong (15) and his brother Henry (17) founded the band with Lewis providing vocals and guitars and Henry on drums and backing vocals. Bass player Ethan Trembath (15) joined a few years later. They released their the album ‘Tu’ on Napalm Records back in June and now U.S. audiences are getting their first glimpse of the band that has been generating quite a buzz.
Opening with “PC Bro” it was clear these guys packed quite a punch. The song had an infectious groove that got peoples attention quickly. “Holding My Breath” started with a bass intro that pummeled into a thrash riff that thundered throughout the room. The brothers are of Ngati Pikiao and Ngati Raukawa decent and incorporate their language, Maori, into some of the songs. It was an interesting twist for fans that were not familiar with them. “Ta Ara” and “Kai Tangata” were two of those songs to feature the Maori language but the universal language of metal music spoke loud and clear to everyone within earshot. The trio was quite impressive as they maneuvered through an aggressive set of material, which was highlighted by the single “Whispers” and “Hypocrite”. I thought the band performed brilliantly and I appreciated that all three members provided vocals and matched sonically what is on the album. The epic “Ru Ana Te Whenua” closed the set. It was a perfect showcase of thrash fused with a driving addicting groove that destroyed everything in its path.
Ministry needs no introduction wherever they play. They are the pioneers of industrial metal and have an extensive catalog of music to prove it. Led by Al Jourgensen, Ministry has mastered blending heavy metal and hard rock with electronic instrumentation to create a chaotic explosion of sound. Ministry released album number fourteen, ‘AmeriKKKant’ earlier this year and supported it by playing the entire album. The album encompasses the current political climate and the band brought that anger, anxiety, and angst to the stage with a barrage of visual effects and crushing auditory. The stage featured a lit up cross and television sets scattered around the stage.
The band behind the massive sound was fantastic. On guitars were Sin Quirin and Cesar Soto. John Bechdel was on keyboards while Derek Abrams kept time on the drums. The man behind the bass was the one and only Tony Campos (Fear Factory, Static-X). Nestled in the center of this sound storm was Al Jourgensen. It was hard to take your eyes off him as he paced the stage and played some guitar throughout the night.
The eight-minute “Twilight Zone” opened up the frenzied affair. It does not take long to figure out where Uncle Al’s political views sit. Both the opening song and “Victims Of A Clown” are reactions to his displeasure of the president. The pounding and frantic pace of “We’re Tired Of It” gave some of the electronics a rest and let a metal influence take command. It was a crushing three minutes of music. Ministry finished off the ‘AmeriKKKant’ album with the Antifa flags waving during the song “Antifa”, “Game Over” and finishing with the title track.
The second half of the show was dedicated to the material that was instrumental in building the Ministry Empire. Four songs off the 1988 release “The Land Of Rape and Honey”. The title track, “The Missing”, “Deity”, and “Stigmata” ignited the crowd. They continued with the heavy hitters as “Just One Fix”, my introduction to the band, and “N.W.O.” were played. Both songs appeared on “Psalm 69: The Way To Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs” that was released in 1992. The night ended with “Thieves” and “So What”. It was an exclamation point not only on the night’s performance but also on the bands legacy.
Youthful Alien Weaponry, which despite their age, have begun to imprint their sound on the metal community. The pieces are there for this impressive three-piece and hopefully they will continue to grow and further push their sound to new levels. There isn’t much left to say about Ministry that has not been said before. The name Ministry isn’t just a band name, but an intuition of sound that continues to push the limits of modern music today. They inspire others not to be status quo and find new avenues of interpretation in music. It’s not every night you are treated to an iconic band with decades of history and also given a peak at the future of heavy metal. It was an entertaining night of music.