After making a minor splash with their 1983 debut, followed by a few popular single releases, Ministry abandoned their synth-pop sound in favor of a far heavier, industrial one. With an album title like The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste, you had to know you were in for something a little more gritty. As the band ferociously charged down that new musical path, their glossy debut album went out of print and has stayed that way ever since.
In fairness, With Sympathy isn’t a great album. But it was an album of its time. A year later, Depeche Mode released Some Great Reward, featuring their iconic hit “People Are People,” and quickly became the kings of synth-pop. And while many of Ministry’s early fans didn’t follow them into the industrial age, I think it is fair to say the band probably could not have sustained their success in their original genre.
Still, I do occasionally listen to With Sympathy. I had it on cassette when it first came out. I only got it on CD for the first time a few years ago after my brother managed to track a copy down for me on eBay. Last summer, I stumbled upon another copy of the CD for a few bucks at a used CD shop while on vacation. I eagerly snatched it up, knowing its true value, although I had no intention of selling it.
Perhaps the biggest hit for Ministry during those early days was a song that wasn’t even on one of their albums. Still, “Every Day Is Halloween” fits firmly within their original synth-pop catalog. If you find yourself thinking “that was by Ministry?” you’re probably not alone.
Fast forward to 2017, and Ministry is preparing to release their new album, AmeriKKKant. They’ve got a PledgeMusic campaign up and running, featuring the usual merchandise bundles: autographed CDs and vinyl, t-shirts, posters, signed guitars and more. For $300, you can get a handwritten lyric sheet for the Ministry song of your choice. It doesn’t have to be from the new album, either. That means “Jesus Built My Hotrod” and “N.W.O.” are fair game.
However, the band does note that songs from With Sympathy are not eligible.