Question: What album made metalheads, punk rockers and dance-fiends recoil in horror upon its debut? Answer: Ministry’s “The Land Of Rape And Honey.” I hate to sound redundant… but the previous reviewers summed it best: “The Land Of Rape And Honey” is as essential as it gets–not just for Ministry and industrial fans, but for fans of music in general. I (finally) got my grubby mitts on the Australian version of the CD since I couldn’t find the out-of-print-for-ages domestic release, so if there’s a difference between the two, I apologize beforehand (Adam Naworal, one of the previous reveiwers, said “Hizbollah” and “I Prefer” aren’t on the domestic release, for example). The first time I saw “Stigmata” on video I was shocked: the song, like the video, wasn’t quite like anything I’ve heard before… or since. Its obnoxious, wailing guitars and ultra-obnoxious “vocals” (read: skull-shattering screams) topped over an absolutely relentless machine-like rhythm that could easily have been named “Audio Napalm” left my jaw on the floor. To this day, it remains my favorite Ministry song. Thankfully, Al and the boys had more than a few other great songs to serve up on this groundbreaking classic. Both “The Missing” and “Deity” rage with thrash-metal fury to them and make bands like Spineshank and Filter look even more pale in comparison. “Hizbollah” has a slight Arabic-tinge to it and might be my second favorite song here just for that reason, while “You Know What You Are” is one of the craziest songs I’ve ever heard: an angry dance song with the HARSHEST vocals I ever heard, putting that guy from Cradle Of Filth (I think his name’s Dani) to absolute shame… genius. The second half of the disk is, in my opinion, better. It’s not as violent with the guitars, but they still pack some angry energy into their more dance-like songs; kind of like the dark and violent synth-pop of “Twitch,” but with an edge (the title track would be the best example of this). I’ll admit, the production is pretty dated (it did come out thirteen years ago, ya know), but the creativity and beauty-in-ugliness work here doesn’t show any signs of age. Ministry single-handedly changed the industrial landscape and was only thanked by seeing a bunch of third-rate computer nerds pathetically trying to emulate the electro-rage of this one groundbreaking masterpiece of an album. Machines hiss, guitars crunch, vocals rage with a snarling wrath, machine-like drums fiercely pound the listener’s skull, and samples are brilliantly placed all over–”The Land Of Rape And Honey” is just brilliant. Definitely one of the best albums ever made.