Backstage News, Front Row Pics

Ministry: Last Tangle in Paris

 Ministry cover


By Jennifer Russo


Al Jourgensen ~ Photo by Allan Amato

Al Jourgensen ~ Photo by Allan Amato

If you aren’t familiar with Ministry already, you’ve missed out on 3 decades of an extraordinary band. These guys had a great run ~ but unfortunately this is their last live DVD to be released to the public.  With the untimely death of guitarist Mike Scaccia in late 2012, thank God (or whatever deity you might believe in) that his legacy and that of Ministry has been captured on film in such an awesome, respectful, but true-to-Ministry way. It is an amazing film with moving dedications throughout, with a final recording studio moment that both makes you smile and choke up simultaneously.

After so many years in the industry, being nominated for Grammy awards, having songs featured on movie soundtracks and receiving a long list of additional recognitions, this industrial metal band has reinvented its wheel again and again and yet has stayed true to the original quality that separated them from the pack and made them Ministry.  As a result, they still appeal to a worldwide legion of fans and put on energetic show after energetic show that easily matches the intensity of any of their newer and younger counterparts.

Ministry smallLast Tangle in Paris is a CD/DVD & Blu-ray combo that features live coverage of the band’s 2012 DeFiBriLLaTour tour, filmed (and edited) expertly from every camera angle imaginable so that everything from the audience viewpoint to side-stage close-ups mesh together perfectly. Views from the back where you can see the fans throwing horns up and head-banging their hearts out make you feel like you are standing right there next to the dude who smells like bad weed and whiskey.  You become part of the film and it’s an incredible feeling. Whereas some live DVDs suffer from muddy sound, Last Tangle in Paris is as crisp as it gets.  If you were listening to this as an audio, you would swear it were all recorded in a studio ~  not only because of the quality of the sound in general, but also because Ministry is flawless live and the power of their sound and performance doesn’t let up for a single moment.

Viewers are taken through an hour and a half of live music, 12 songs that kick off with “Ghouldiggers,” which happens to be one of my favorite Ministry jams (watch the original official video of the song, released June 14, 2012, here). Singer Al Jourgensen, always riveting on [and off] stage,  stands with arms outstretched as though he has been crucified (seriously, the guy’s triceps must be like iron ~ just look at the below photo!) as the audience screams along with the lyrics “I’m not dead yet, I’m not dead yet, I’m not dead yet!” while a screen behind them features cartoon images of birds in suits.

Al in one of his signature crucifixtion poses ~ Photo by Paul Ellege

Al in one of his signature crucifixion poses ~ Photo by Paul Ellege

“Life is Good” is another favorite of mine that made it into the set with a solid start, a wine pour and a hell of a lot of anthem.  The highlight performance, though, had to be “Relapse.”  To some, it may sound like a simple song, but there is a complexity to it that the band absolutely NAILED.  Every off-beat and changeup was seamless and the Mikey’s solo (at about 42:40) is breathtaking.

Intertwining backstage interview footage and rehearsal captures that are irrefutable proof that Ministry puts all-out effort into every moment of what they do, this DVD gives you a sense of how cool it would be like to hang out with these guys ~ something I would do  in a heartbeat. Don’t let the seemingly frightful faces full of piercings, tats or fangs scare you; nah, these guys are down to earth (and read up on what Al does in his “spare” time ~ that’s one multi-talented dude), funny, and dedicated. The movie does a great job of showing the on-stage personas, but also demonstrates how business savvy the band is, how serious they are about what they do, and how they have no problem kicking back and having some major fun.

Michael Scaccia and Alien Jourgensen ~ Photo [edited] by Espen Ixtlan. Rest in Peace, Mike.

Michael Scaccia and Alien Jourgensen ~ Photo [edited] by Espen Ixtlan. Rest in Peace, Mike.

But along with all the lighthearted moments and candid scenes where Al jokes that his job sucks and he needs a new one and even shares a funny story about Keith Richards, there are also some palpably heart-felt comments (paired with some band-brotherly ragging) from him and his bandmates about how much they respect each other and stories about moments with Mikey, whom they obviously all miss terribly.

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Any true metal fan needs 
Last Tangle in Paris in his or her collection ~ the combo set is huge, with both DVD and CD extras.  Grab it when it hits the stands and virtual stores on July 8th.   I will, you should, end of story.

Ministry’s new album, From Beer to Eternity, is now available.  Check out theLesson Unlearned (Remix) sample here.