Ministry-Tapes of Wrath (2000)

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Released 6-Nov-2000

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Web Links
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 67:09
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Various
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Al Jourgensen
Paul Barker
William Rieflin
Chris Connelly
Louis Svitek
Mike Scaccia
Luc Van Acker
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Various


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Ministry was formed in 1982, just after the founding member Al Jourgensen befriended Paul Barker in Boston. Since then, the band has cut a formidable swathe in the underground music scene, with its caustic blend of samples and electronic industrial beats overlaid with guitar distortion and manipulated vocals. In 1988 the band released In the Land of Rape and Honey, an album that filtered the metal and industrial influences of the time into a unique, hard-driving juggernaught that did good business for the band's label Sire Records, a subdivision of Warner Bros. Two years later, though, the quintessential Ministry album was unleashed. The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste is perhaps the best cross-over industrial album ever made. Every track shows the band's mastery of instrumentation and technology, combined with the fully matured creative talents of Jourgensen (a one-time heroin addict) and bass guitarist Barker. Perhaps the biggest album for Ministry was 1991's Psalm 69, a heavier, more intense foray into their idea of a sonic post-apocalypse. Despite four stand-out tracks, the album lacked the consistency of The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste. Of late, the band has stripped back its sound to something that resembles a generic rock band, releasing Filth Pig in 1996 and Dark Side of the Spoon in 1999.

    A side-project called The Revolting Cocks (or 'Revco' to the cognoscenti), consisting of Jourgensen, Barker, drummer Rieflin, Chris Connelly, and a few other musicians, has released three rather brilliant albums in parallel to Ministry's output: Big Sexyland (1987), Beer, Steers, and Queers (1990), and Linger Ficken Good (1993). While similar in style to Ministry, Revco has a cleaner sound and a more satirical ethos. Personally speaking, as good as Ministry is, I prefer The Revolting Cocks' brand of sterile, test-tube bred synthrock to the guitar fuzz that typifies latter day Ministry. In fact, there may be only four or five dud tracks on the three Revco albums released so far. It was rather frustrating to see Ministry at the Big Day Out on the Gold Coast and not have them play any Revco songs. *sob*

    That disappointment has been addressed somewhat by Warner's compilation of Ministry music videos on DVD, which includes two of the Revolting Cocks best songs, Do Ya Thing I'm Sexy and Crackin' Up. The remaining Ministry tracks almost spans their entire recording history, from the rough-as-guts Over the Shoulder, to three tracks from The Land of Rape and Honey, and the hit singles from their last couple of albums, including my favourite Ministry song (and video clip) Just One Fix, featuring an ancient William S. Burroughs droning "smash the control images...smash the control machine". It was also good to have Crackin' Up, a video I'd never seen before. Note that the Dennis Hopper sample from Blue Velvet in Jesus Built My Hotrod ("Let's hit the f***ing road!") is needlessly censored here as it was for American television.

    All in all, The Tapes of Wrath is an essential purchase for any Ministry/Revco fan, since it contains videos that would take you about five years worth of watching the ABC's all-night music programme Rage to see. Now, I hope Warner releases the live Ministry video In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up in the near future.

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Track Listing

1. Over The Shoulder
2. Stigmata
3. Flashback
4. Burning Inside
5. The Land of Rape and Honey
6. Jesus Built My Hotrod
7. N.W.O.
8. Just One Fix
9. Lay Lady Lay
10. Reload
11. Bad Blood
12. Crackin' Up
13. Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?

Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented full frame, the picture quality of these music clips was consistently good.

    Sharpness is on par with what you'd expect with a video source. While many details are apparent in each clip, the transfer to DVD has not yielded a bounty of visual nuances compared to PAL broadcast resolution. Of course, the image is better here than on the Very Hazy System copies I have on tape of Just One Fix, New World Order, and Do Ya Think I'm Sexy. With the frequently washed out, low grade, high grain footage used in many of the clips, there was not much difference between VHS and this DVD apart from a reduction in video noise. The amount of shadow detail also depended on the stock.

    Colours were strong when they were meant to be. Crackin' Up, with its overlapping psychedelic swirls, and the lurid lighting of Do Ya Thing I'm Sexy, fared well in the leap to DVD. Again, there was little if any obvious advantage over broadcast quality images. Colour bleed was not a problem.

    Film and artefacts varied from one clip to another. The oldest track, Over the Shoulder, exhibited a massive amount of grain, with what looked like noise correction thrown in, too. As mentioned earlier, the variety of video and film stock used to make each clip has resulted in a mixed bag, ranging from super glossy to absolutely rank -- often in the same song. Unintentional cross colour artefacts were not apparent, and there were no other flaws or glitches.

    In summary, the intended look of the 13 video clips is preserved on this DVD.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The songs are encoded in Linear PCM stereo and sound finger licking good.

    The front stereo sound stage is nice and wide, with good fidelity and imaging. Comparing the early tracks to their CD counterparts, I found that the LPCM audio was marginally better in detail and presence. I put this down to the fact that the DVD audio would have been produced with today's technology. Hence, the difference between more recent songs, for example Bad Blood and Lay Lady Lay, was less obvious than with the 1980s material. Indeed, I could not say for sure that there was any difference, given the grungy distortion used on later songs. Crackin' Up sounded excellent, as did Just One Fix. The low frequency ranges pretty much matched the CD -- the subwoofer loved the deep, deliriously slow bass notes in The Land of Rape and Honey. At high volumes all of the songs held together well...I have played this DVD several times all the way through at wall-shaking, roommate-evacuating volumes. This is the best advantage the DVD has over a Very Hazy System equivalent.

    Direct Comparison: Just One Fix CDSingle and DVD (CD player: 20-bit Arcam 8). The CD single for this song also contains the 'video edit' remix, which is of course the version on the DVD. I hit PLAY on the CD and DVD player remote controls in synch enough to account for transport lag times. Miraculously I got them playing perfectly in synch, allowing me to swap between the two. The CD was slightly louder at the same amp volume. The decoder master volume was set to its maximum. Imaging was the same. I could spot no significant differences. My one and only sorbothane anti-vibration platform was under the DVD player to compensate for the Metz player's build deficiencies.

    Listening to the stereo track in Dolby Pro-Logic on my decoder produced a deeper sound stage, with more a prominent (and artificial) bass sound. I didn't care for it. Porting the 48kHz/16-bit LPCM directly into the amplifier, using lower standard interconnects than those on my CD player, resulted in a softer sound at the same volume level. (The master volume on the decoder is set to the maximum.)

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menus

    Not 16x9 enhanced, not animated, no background music.

DVD-ROM

    This consists of a web-link to Ministry's website at www.darkspoon.com.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The region 1 release is identical to the region 4 release, so go for the local release unless you have a preference for NTSC. The running times are the same, too, since the material is sourced from video. This was confirmed during the Just One Fix audio face-off.

Summary

     The Tapes of Wrath is a solid compilation of Ministry and Revolting Cocks video clips, which also doubles as a 'best of' collection. I am not sure if this track listing contains all of their videos, but it seems comprehensive as far as I know. The picture quality retains the original feel of each sequence, while the digital sound compares favourably with CD recordings.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rod Williams (Suss out my biography if you dare)
Tuesday, December 26, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDMetz DE 71, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Ergo (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderDenon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder.
AmplificationArcam AV50 5 x 50W amplifier
SpeakersFront: ALR/Jordan Entry 5M, Centre: ALR/Jordan 4M, Rear: ALR/Jordan Entry 2M, Subwoofer: B&W ASW-1000 (active)

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