"Enjoy the Quiet: Live at Wacken 2012"

(13th Planet )

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RATING: 8.5/10

Serving as a monument in conjunction with MINISTRY's reported final studio album "From Beer to Eternity", Al Jourgensen issues what is likewise reported to be a final live DVD and CD package, "Enjoy the Quiet: Live at Wacken 2012".

"From Beer to Eternity" is dedicated to the memory of longtime MINISTRY guitarist Mike Scaccia, who passed away last December from cardiac arrest. Scaccia, who is also well-remembered from thrash legends RIGOR MORTIS plus REVOLTING COCKS and LARD, is showcased on "Enjoy the Quiet" as a tribute. Also saluted is the late Paul Raven, who appears in a powerhouse MINISTRY lineup circa 2006 as a bonus concert in this package.

The main program of "Enjoy the Quiet" is a well-shot hi-def capture of MINISTRY at the Wacken Open Air festival on August 3, 2012. As Al Jourgensen was struggling with a case of dysentery at the time of this performance, it's remarkable he stood tall at Wacken with a largely tight band consisting of Scaccia, guitarist Sin Quirin (formerly of SOCIETY 1 and the REVOLTING COCKS), Casey Orr on bass, Aaron Rossi on drums, plus recurrent keyboardist/programmer John Bechdel.

Aided by a heap of samples, voiceovers and dubbed parts, the base presentation of the 2012 concert is nonetheless professional and weighty. The star is Scaccia, even as Al Jourgensen props himself front and center, woofing into the cranium of the skull adorning his mike stand (as opposed to bones and antlers comprising his stand in the 2006 show). Though Sin Quirin picks up a couple of solos, the spotlight appropriately shines upon Scaccia in a set focused largely upon selections from the "House on the Mole" though "Relapse" albums. As a unit, this lineup is most effective and obviously comfortable playing from this zone of MINISTRY's catalog, while doing their best as a collective to honor Al and Mike on the standard trio of past kicks, "New World Order (N.W.O.)", "Just One Fix" and "Thieves".

While there are a few observable hiccups manifesting in the latter three, the rest of the 2012 show is hammered down with the closest thing to precision MINISTRY could've hoped for at this point. "Ghouldiggers" is spot-on snarky, particularly with the video supplementation of Al kvetching through his hilarious rant about misgivings in the music business. While the cutaways to the video segments are used to a fault in the final edit of this concert, as they are with "No 'W'", soon enough, the filming stays concentrated upon the band, which thrashes to full effect on "Rio Grande Blood" and flogs away with brute force through "Life is Good", "Waiting" and "Relapse".

The bonus 2006 Wacken concert, despite a subpar audio and video transfer, is, for the fan's purposes, the better of the two shows. Featuring the heavyweight lineup of PRONG's Tommy Victor alongside Mike Scaccia on guitars, SLIPKNOT drummer Joey Jordison, Paul Raven on bass and of course, John Bechdel, together they represent what is probably the heaviest bunch Al Jourgensen's ever had at his disposal.

A lineup deserving of its own separate and cleaned-up live release, the 2006 MINISTRY ensemble pounds the Wacken grounds silly. It's a mondo treat watching Tommy Victor's spastic guitar solos trade off with Scaccia's ebbing scales. Even more pleasurable is watching Joey Jordison (one of the best drummers Al's ever had at his back) flail away with more pizzazz than Aaron Rossi in the 2012 show. Jordison is especially masterful with the back catalog songs, rumbling like a mad dog through "Just One Fix", "N.W.O." and "Thieves". He blasts off on "Thieves"' industrial-thrash segments with some of the fastest manmade rhythms ever put to the song.

Adding to the fun of the 2006 set is seeing Al Jourgensen on guitar for "Just One Fix" and "N.W.O." Even better, his vocals run naked through the entire show, stripping away most of the filters and dub tracks that guide a fair chunk of the 2012 show. Given his illness in 2012, it's easy to cut the guy some slack. Rounding the 2006 set with a massive rendition of "Psalm 69", it's terrific that Al released this footage, raw and washed out as it is. It serves as a nice farewell to not only Mike Scaccia, but Paul Raven, who was always a beast in MINISTRY and in KILLING JOKE.

One can only imagine what it felt like to be in this band in both 2006 and 2012. Despite the glaring contrasts between MINISTRY at these two points in time, "Enjoy the Quiet: Live at Wacken 2012" serves as one part of a sentimental finish to the band, assuming Al is calling it quits for good this time. 2009's "Adios… Puta Madres" was supposed to have been the final word, yet Al's near-death experience, coupled by the loss of Mike Scaccia, just may have given the Piss Army its certified goodbye.


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