In this month's edition of the magazine Classic Rock, the writers have chosen the worst 50 Albums of All Time, examples of stinkers released by established rock bands with a (previously) spotless record behind them. Queen, Rolling Stones and Van Halen all came under fire and rightly so - if you've ever sat all the way through Mercury's aural abortion that is, 'Hot Space', and lived to tell the tale without turning into a gibbering wreck, I salute you. There's no excuse for a 'change in direction', not when it ain't broke in the first place.
Conversely, some artists realize the error of their early ways by switching tack and toughening up. In the case of Ministry, the change in sound applied by founder Al Jourgensen is comparable to Jeremy Clarkson buying a bike and voting Green at the next election - unlikely and incredible.
Originally formed in 1981, Ministry were essentially a synth-pop outfit with mixed results. Signed to Wax Trax until 1984, the melodic output belied the latent festering beast released some years later. Things got darker on the albums 'Twitch' and 'Land of Rape and Honey', the latter featuring guitars and the rather more aggressive single, 'Stigmata'. But nothing could prepare the listener for their next onslaught.
'The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste' is so intense, vitriolic and blisteringly loud, you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd walked into a force 10 hailstorm naked. As an opening pairing, 'Burning Inside' and 'Thieves' must surely rank as truly terrifying explosions of wrath. Fabulous. And the assault continued across another seven albums before calling time in 2008 - but of course, bands change their minds and reform. Welcome to Ministry 2012.
Last year Jourgensen and crew regrouped for recording sessions that were to form the forthcoming album, 'Relapse'. Due out on Al's own 13th Planet label, the band have hinted that this might be the 'fastest and heaviest album we've ever made'. Gulp.
Ministry will also be out on tour later this year, which includes a handful of highly-anticipated UK shows. First stop is Bristol on 16th July, followed by Belfast on 17th, London on 20th and Manchester on 21st. Tickets are on sale Monday morning at 9am and range in price from £18 to £20.