As TMO is a Metal webzine and inside the highly narrow-minded Metal scene alternative and Industrial bands like MINISTRY have not so much space left by the common Metalhead, could be seemed as an eccentricity by my side to review the debut album of this band, that not only doesn’t get enough headbanger’s attention with their legendary posterior albums, but also started as a Club Dance one-man project that certainly nothing has to do with the heavy, punk aggressiveness of later releases like the almighty “The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste”. And well, of course I was also shocked at first, as MINISTRY is and had been one of my most beloved bands for a long time and this was just too far from what I expected, but a few years have passed and more and more listens to “With Sympathy” had make me realize that I truly like this album.
This is a really fresh release. All music passes as easy as water, managing at the same time to be extremely nice to listen. Well, after all, this was made to be danceable and so you will find choirs with an amazing catchiness, light and easy to understand lyrics and a pumping electronic base inviting to move; On the other hand, don’t expect complicated song structures or even slightly remains of the violent, defying atmosphere of the Industrial path they took since “Twitch”.
One of the high points of “With Sympathy” is without doubt the great variety between the songs. Each one has its own spirit that makes it remarkable and worthy to remember specially, outside of the group. The most notable ones are “Revenge”, with an outstanding chorus and the best vocal act in the album, with Al Jourgensen singing with a hilarious English accent imitation; also “I Wanted To Tell Her”, that is catchy as hell from the beginning to the end and features also remarkable female vocals and at last I would like to stress “What He Say”, a rather funny, simple and kind track about nightlife around the world. Unfortunately, not every song reaches the same level and while the first 6 ones are very interesting, the final 3 are quite boring and uninspired, slow and with a jazzy atmosphere that I don’t think it fits very well.
I will be honest with you; I don’t dare to recommend “With Sympathy” to anybody, as a weird subtle presentiment whispers in my ear that who’s reading is not a Pop/Dance fan and is actually wondering about what the hell I’m writing about. Well, I’m reviewing this album basically because a MINISTRY release will always find its way to a Metal site and sometimes is important to focus in the roots of a band that had built a cult place in various genres, of course including the one which gathers us here. I already told you what is this about, now just decide for yourself if you give it a try. Astonishment guaranteed for fans, but also a sane dose of kind melodies and amusement. With sympathy from Al Jourgensen. (Online September 2, 2005)