Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Diving back into the static and turmoil of real life doesn't so much piss you off as remind you how angry you already were. So when I returned from a month in the country this Labor Day, I turned to Motorhead's March or Die (Epic/WTG) and Ministry's Psalm 69 (Sire/Reprise) for relief. These years, no other rock and rollers compete so fearlessly with the traffic, the telephone, the powers that be, and the scumbag who just jimmied your trunk.

Led by grizzled campaigner Lemmy Kilmister, Motorhead epitomizes metal as hard rock, a guitar attack with no room for pop niceties or artistic foofaraw. After floundering in the early '80s, they sustained the intensity of their tuneless rant for four straight albums, and if March or Die lets up, it's only by comparison to 1986's Orgasmatron or 1991's 1916. New songs like Stand and Bad Religion and Hellraiser make their point like a knockout with the gloves off.

Ministry is a studio-concocted duo-plus that's equally brutal and less reassuringly human. Its music is always cold, and Psalm 69 is colder. But eventually the craft Alain Jourgensen and Paul Barker put into their latest opus hits home: even the eight minutes of surgical waste that is Scarecrow thrill and chill. Buzzsaw percussion and oratorio grandeur and synth sludge and George Bush and the Butthole Surfers all serve a nay-saying postmetal sensationalism guaranteed to catharsize your rage. Or maybe just magnify it--they don't give a fuck. That's why they'll get you.


Fast Cuts: Luna2, Luna Park (Elektra): Dean Wareham isn't mad, just prematurely weary, and he makes sweetly acerbic music out of it. Dennis Robbins, Man With a Plan (Giant): in a Nashville of freeze-dried hunks, this is one country boy who isn't just rowdy by the numbers.

Playboy, Sept. 1992


Aug. 1992 Oct. 1992