Ministry: Rio Grande Blood (2006)

Rio Grande Blood is one of the most overtly political albums of the 2000s. Al Jourgensen takes no prisoners, relentlessly attacking the Bush era, from the Iraq War to perceived governmental corruption. With songs like “LiesLiesLies” and “Ass Clown”, Ministry turns social critique into aggressive sonic warfare. Whether you agree with their stance or not, the album’s blunt force is undeniable.

Track Listing

  1. Rio Grande Blood
  2. Señor Peligro
  3. Gangreen (feat. Sgt. Major)
  4. Fear (Is Big Business)
  5. LiesLiesLies
  6. The Great Satan (Remix)
  7. Yellow Cake
  8. Palestina
  9. Ass Clown (feat. Jello Biafra)
  10. Khyber Pass (feat. Liz Constantine)
  11. Untitled (silent track)
  12. Untitled (silent track)
  13. Sgt. Major Redux (feat. Sgt. Major)

Length: 51:18


Industrial metal, thrash metal

Release Date

May 2, 2006

Record Label

  • 13th Planet Records
  • Megaforce Records

The Lineup for the Album

  • Al Jourgensen: Lead vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, drum programming, production
  • Tommy Victor: Guitars, bass
  • Paul Raven: Keyboards, backing vocals, bass, guitar, drum programming, drums
  • Mike Scaccia: Lead guitar

Recording Date


Recording Studio

13th Planet Studios (El Paso, Texas)

Produced by

Al Jourgensen

Album Themes/Concept

Anti-War: The album takes a strong stance against the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Songs like “Rio Grande Blood,” “LiesLiesLies,” and “Yellow Cake” question the reasons for and execution of the wars.

Criticism of George W. Bush: Jourgensen openly attacks President Bush, portrayed as a manipulative and dangerous figure in songs throughout the album. Mocked for his speeches and policies, he becomes a central target of the album’s anger.

Anti-Establishment: The album holds a broader anti-establishment sentiment, criticizing corporations (especially Halliburton) linked to the Bush administration and the perceived profiteering from war.

Conspiracy Theories: Some lyrics, especially in “LiesLiesLies”, hint at conspiracy theories relating to the 9/11 attacks and the justification for the Iraq War.

Middle East Conflict: Tracks like “Palestina” acknowledge turmoil in the broader Middle East and question US involvement in the region.

Album Mood

Angry: The driving force of the album is pure, unfiltered anger. This is seen in Jourgensen’s vocal delivery, the pummeling industrial beats, and scathing lyrics.

Urgent: There’s a sense of immediacy and urgency throughout the album. Ministry doesn’t hold back, creating a sound that demands to be heard and calls for action.

Chaotic: The production often feels chaotic and abrasive. Sampling, rapid-fire lyrics, and unpredictable arrangements contribute to a sense of barely controlled aggression.

Satirical: While mostly serious in its message, there’s a dark streak of satire throughout. Bush’s speeches are manipulated and mocked, and some lyrics contain absurdist humor, adding a layer of cynical commentary.

Album Trivia

Album Inspiration: Al Jourgensen was deeply disturbed by the Iraq War and the political climate surrounding it. This distress and dissatisfaction became the driving force behind the album’s creation.

Ministry’s Political Turn:  Rio Grande Blood marked a sharp turn into more openly political territory. While Ministry’s music often touched on social commentary, this album was a full-blown and focused attack on the Bush administration.

Sampling: The album heavily uses samples, particularly incorporating speeches by George W. Bush. These manipulated and distorted speeches become a key part of the album’s sonic landscape and fuel its critique.

“Rio Grande Dub” Remixes: An entire separate album of remixes called Rio Grande Dub was released, exploring dub and reggae-influenced reworkings of the album tracks.

Guest Vocalists: In addition to featuring guest musicians, “Rio Grande Blood” also includes guest vocalists on certain tracks. Jello Biafra, best known as the former lead singer of the Dead Kennedys, provides vocals on the track “Ass Clown,” adding to the album’s punk influence.

Unexplained Silent Tracks: The album includes two silent tracks at the end. Some fans have theorized there may be hidden messages in them, but this remains unconfirmed.

Listen or Pass

This album might be for you if you…

  • Like industrial metal: If you enjoy the harsh guitars, relentless beats, and sampling typical of industrial metal, you’ll appreciate the sonic landscape this album offers.
  • Want politically-charged music: The album is a direct critique of the Bush era. If you like music with strong social messages and don’t shy away from controversy, you might find it interesting.
  • Have a rebellious streak: It’s an album fueled by anger and defiance. If you resonate with those feelings and enjoy anti-establishment sentiment, you might connect.
  • Are a fan of earlier Ministry: The album has a harsher, more industrial sound, similar to their earlier work. For fans of that era, this will be familiar and enjoyable.
  • Can handle explicit content: The album includes strong language and graphic imagery. If you’re okay with that, it won’t be a deterrent.

You might want to pass this one if you…

  • Prefer softer genres: Industrial metal is intrinsically abrasive. If you enjoy more melodic music, Rio Grande Blood will likely feel harsh and unpleasant.
  • Dislike political music: The entire album revolves around anti-Bush/anti-war themes. If you dislike that in music or strongly disagree with the views, it’ll be off-putting.
  • Are easily offended: The profanity-laced lyrics and graphic themes might be too extreme for some. Consider this before listening.
  • Are unfamiliar with Ministry: If you’re new to the band, this isn’t the best starting point. It’s one of their most intense albums, so explore other work first.
  • Like your music relaxing: The album is pure adrenaline and rage. If you seek calm music, this will feel like the opposite.

Release Date

May 2, 2006