Book Review: Ministry: Prescripture

Release Date: December 6th, 2019

When Al Jourgensen formed Ministry back in 1981, he couldn’t have predicted the impact they would have on music. With groundbreaking albums like The Land of Rape and Honey, Twitch, and The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, Jourgensen and the band paved the way for artists like Nine Inch Nails, 3Teeth, and White Zombie. The band’s legacy is celebrated in the new visual history book, Ministry: Prescripture.

Fully authorized by Ministry, the book is filled with rare, never before seen photos, artwork and posters, and other memorabilia “taken straight from Uncle Al’s closet.” It also has quotes from those who admire or have worked with them, like Billy Corgan, Jello Biafra, Dave Navarro, and Anthrax. They talk about their love of the band, share stories of when they first discovered them and how they’ve influenced their own work. It’s great how the Ministry has played a huge role for these artists whether it was helping through a dark time or inspiring them to make their own music.

While the rare photographs are a big draw to the book, the most compelling moments are the personal stories about Jourgensen and co. Page Hamilton talks about spending Thanksgiving in Chicago with Jourgensen, Anders Oden talks about being there the moment Jourgensen learned of Ministry guitarist Mike Scaccia’s death, and Alexander Hackre recounts hanging out with the band in his apartment. The constant praise Ministry receives throughout the book is well deserved but these intimate moments give fans access to candid moments that are rarely talked about.

Surprisingly, the book highlights Ministry’s complicated history with the With Sympathy era. Jourgensen isn’t shy about voicing his hatred of the album even going as far as disowning it. He’s referred to this era as “an abortion period of my life,” so it’s a pleasant surprise to see it featured prominently in the book. The promo pictures, concert posters, and candid shots give us a closer look at a time Ministry tries to forget. Even artists, like AFI’s Davey Havok, express their love of the record. And reading about it leaves you with a newfound appreciation for the album even though it’s nothing like the Ministry we know now. It may be the black sheep in their catalog, but it’s great to see the album get some recognition despite what Jourgensen thinks.

There’s a reason Ministry are pegged as the Godfathers of industrial music and Ministry: Prescripture shows us why. The visual retrospective is a loving tribute to the band and a fun look back on their storied career. It also highlights the effect they’ve had both on music and on their fans. The quotes filtered throughout show how their influence and presence is still felt today. This book gives us a closer look at the chaos, destruction, and fury that is Ministry.

Get your copy of Ministry: Prescripture here.

Ministry: Precripture
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Ashley Perez Hollingsworth

Ashley Perez is a freelance music journalist based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on AXS, The Crypt 1331, Chicago Innerview, New City, The Millions, and Reality-Comics. She also runs her own music blog at Radio Not Found. Some of her favorite bands include Nirvana, The Cure, Muse, Marilyn Manson, and Green Day.

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