Ministry Side Trax

Side Trax, the companion release to Ministry’s Early Trax compiles several cuts from four Ministry-related side projects circa 1987-1990: Pailhead, 1000 Homo DJs, PTP and Acid Horse, respectively. Over half of the tracks on the disc are culled from their original twelve-inch releases, while another ("Show Me Your Spine” by PTP) was previously unavailable. Side Trax successfully manages to avoid feeling like a record company cash grab, if only because creating one disc of various side project rarities is such a damned brilliant idea — particularly because many home listeners simply don’t spin twelve-inches anymore. For the uninitiated, Pailhead very much conform to the early ’90s industrial sound — noisy guitars, live drums, and aggressive vocals, but still shy of the wall of noise associated with more recent industrial offerings. Despite this, the six Pailhead cuts stand up well despite the more than 15-year chasm since they were recorded. 1000 Homo DJs ramps the collection up a notch, with a grittier sound, purposely distorted vocals, sound bite samples and a generally heavier feel, much more reminiscent of Ministry’s current offerings than anything else on the album. PTP and Acid Horse, the last two projects represented here, split five tracks between them. Both are much more synth-oriented offerings and as such sound the most dated. In the end, the disc shows a musical diversity that some of the more recently recruited Ministry fans may be embarrassingly unaware of, and as such, this collection serves equally well as a side project rarities compilation or a much-needed lesson in the diverse projects Ministry has had its hands in over the years. (Rykodisc)