DVD SANCTUARY RELEASE: APRIL
15, 2002 REVIEW: APRIL 17, 2002
one can doubt that in the mid-90's, anyone into industrial music knew
of and was even very absorbed with Ministry's sound. As they closed out
the 1990's, the band seemed to drag out their albums, and fans tended
to shy away in fear of not getting the same excitement as before.
1990's "In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing up" Ministry live video left
us waiting for more. This "Sphinctour" live package sees them
at their fanbase high playing larger clubs to festival crowds up to 40
A simple menu of track listing, still graphics, credits and audio setup
help guide the viewer to what they need. You will get bored of the sound
byte used for the main menu as with any DVD these days. It ships in Dolby
5.1 Surround and Dolby 2.0 Stereo as a fallback on the single disc. The
sound quality as you expect is quite excellent. It's from two track DAT
audio source, direct from the soundboard mixed live. No post-production
mixing is involved in this package. How this is translated to a 5.1 sound
properly is beyond me.
Early in, touring stage manager Paula Wood is shown escorting frontman
Al Jourgensen in full headgear to the stage area at an open air gig. Once
we get to the show, you realise what many fans haven't seen lately. Back
and side-stage guerrilla cameras shots abound with Jourgensen's snarling
vocals as his band plays furiously for the appreciative crowds. No guest
artists, just the touring band are present.
Filmed in 1996, it's quite good quality hi-8 video content as it holds
up well on DVD today. Not many typical rock show gimmick angles add to
the feel of the live Ministry show. Most of the content is of the band
but there are segments especially on the North American dates which focus
on the crowd as well. The performance is seamless although the viewer
knows it's filmed in multiple locations. The disc casing lists the venues
used but this is likely only the audio content. It's all filmed using
a single camera at all 60 shows in 11 countries. Each video track segment
is intermixed with other venue's live sets. The US/Canada dates have added
backing film graphics while the Euro dates emphasise just the lightshow,
the band and costumes of Jourgensen.
The sound of "Just One Fix" from their former homebase of Chicago, is
much beefier than the rest of the collection.
Included is "The Fall", a track that first appears on "Filth Pig"
(1996). Originally an 88/89 Al Jourgensen/Nivek Ogre studio track called
"Noreen", from a collaboration they were considering (the defunct project
W.E.L.T.). All other tracks are Ministry originals. A collection of their
newer slower drone type songs drags but is brought to life by the Chicago
Trax-era toxins of "Theives" and "Stigmata" closer to the end. Some
backstage antics happen before their encore as we are treated to some
dialogue by dictator Al.
I must comment that the actual DVD disc artwork is substandard as it looks
as though there's been a mistake in packaging. It is in fact an actual
stage pass graphic but does not work well in my opinion. No added liner
notes are to be found. All credits are on disc and at the band's web site.
The "stage show" itself leaves something to be desired at points
but then again this is a performance art called industrial music. Paul
Barker (guitar, bass & programming) comments that it was more like a "train
Once you see this live concert collection you will realise what is missing
from today's music scene. Add to your Ministry DVD collection alongside
"Tapes of Wrath" (2000) from former Ministry label Warner Bros.