Rock, April 2024

Nuclear Blast 4065629701642; LP 4065629701611

In the '90s, Ministry were best known for their souped-up anthem 'Jesus Built My Hotrod', but times have changed with their recent 'Just Stop Oil' – although the industrial metal band are still doing metaphorical handbrake turns across your mind. Ministry are multiple Grammy award nominees whose music has been used in blockbuster movies, but Al Jourgensen has said he's not prepared to 'shut up and play ball' and sings, 'There must be resistance, we cannot be silenced'. There's a thrilling sense of urgency to this pulverising, riff-based music. He grapples with the far right on 'Aryan Embarrassment', and on the monolithic anthemic 'New Religion' boldly enters the labyrinth of social media and fake news. MB


Sub Pop SPCD1626; LP: SP1626

Ilion is the original name for Troy, a city that was built and destroyed numerous times, and this album is appropriately epic in scale. Toulouse trio Slift play heavy psychedelic rock, but have upped the intensity here. Glistening guitar arpeggios and syncopated riffs lead to sections where the deployment of an arsenal of FX pedals and a 3D production sound produce a near overwhelming power – 'Nimh' features some astonishingly brutal fuzz bass. And there's a fair amount of anxious shouting, sweetened by occasional female vocals and saxophone. It's exciting but exhausting, and at nearly 80 minutes, sensitive listeners may need to lie down halfway through. MB


Yard Act
Where's My Utopia?
Island 5850839; LP: 5850836

The band's second album has hints of the scratchy post-punk style of their acclaimed debut, The Overload. But with Remi Kabaka Jnr of Gorillaz co-producing, the sonic palette is more vivid, with funk and hiphop elements, arrangements warmed by electronic treatments, and even some string flourishes. And while James Smith often delivers his literate lyrics in a stroppy, half-spoken style, the melodic 'Petroleum' sounds a close cousin to Beck. Smith revisits painful memories of school bullying on 'Down By The Stream', gives some rather sardonic advice to his son on 'An Illusion', and takes us on an 'ironic' guide to the music biz on 'We Make Hits'. MB


Anna Calvi
Peaky Blinders: Season 5 & 6 (Original Score)

Anna Calvi has said that when making this soundtrack she became obsessed with Tommy Shelby, played in the TV drama by Cillian Murphy, and she successfully reflects that enigmatic character's thoughtfulness, cut with a propensity for violence. Calvi's abrasive guitar lines lead some crunchy band instrumentals, and she plays with space on solo passages of slide guitar and hanging tremolo'd chords, which produce as close a relationship between music and film as Angelo Badalamenti's scores for Twin Peaks. There are wordless chorales and brooding songs, and she also has recorded her own gritty version of the series' theme tune, Nick Cave's 'Red Right Hand'. MB