|©1989 Alternative Tentacles
1. The Power of Lard
3. Time to Melt
My theory regarding Jello Biafra's choices in collaborations is his one requirement is finding other musicians who will let him ramble on and on in the lyrical department. Biafra is no stranger to the word "loquacious". His various collaborations have been somewhat hit or miss. His one off with D.O.A. had its moments, while the Mojo Nixon one fell short because Jello just didn't know when to stop writing the ol' lyrics. And we won't go too deep into the album with NoMeansNo, which can more aptly be described as a "confrontation, not a collaboration" (in the words of John Wright). Actually, we will go into that a bit. NoMeansNo demoed the songs and sent the tapes to Jello for him to begin polishing up for a proper release. The next thing they knew, Jello had recorded his vocals and released the album. Fortunately, the songs in demo form were pretty good, so far worse things have happened in the world of music, such as Dee Dee Ramone's rap album.
Lard, however, has stood out a bit for a Jello project. Featuring Ministry's Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker with Jeff Ward on drums, Lard felt more like a real band than a long distance tape swapping affair. That said, their initial EP, The Power of Lard, emphasizes both the good and the bad about Lard. The first two tracks, "The Power of Lard" and "Hellfudge", are both rather good, particularly the groovy "Hellfudge". It demonstrated a style that was more rock than Ministry's general style and a good base for Jello's unique vocal style. But the thirty-one minute "Time To Melt" is a rather misguided song. Featuring very little variation in the riff and plodding tempo, this song truly goes on and on and on. Aside from the members of the band who recorded this track and three diehard Biafra fans, I don't think anyone has ever sat through the entire duration of the song. Actually, I just did while setting up this review and I feel like the last half hour was just robbed from me. You can play almost any one or two minute excerpt from this song and hear all there is to know about it. It foreshadows Ministry's eventual drudgery they released in the mid to late 90s, so be warned.
Fortunately, the first two songs are enjoyable and helped pave the way for the band's monster full length, Last Tempation of Reid, which is still my choice for Jello's best post-Dead Kennedys release. The Power of Lard is worth getting for the first two songs, but you may want to consider not overpaying for it. Chances are you'll never sit through the entire "Time to Melt" and your life will be better off for it.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 06/2010
|©1990 Alternative Tentacles
2. Pineapple Face
3. Mate Spawn & Die
4. Drug Raid At 4 A.m.
5. Can God Fill Teeth?
6. Bozo Skeleton
7. Sylvestre Matuschka
8. They're Coming To Take Me Away
9. I Am Your Clock
As the other collaboration with one of punk's pinnacle figures, Lard's Last Temptation of Reid is a devastating powerhouse of music featuring the talents of Ministry's Paul Barker and Al Jourgensen and the infamous Jello Biafra providing vocals. Having already released a three song, forty minute "EP" called The Power of Lard, the stage had already been set for the project's full length. The resulting album is simply one of the best releases associated with all the many Ministry side projects.
The music on Last Temptation of Reid is a hybrid of metal and industrial that can really be seen as both and neither all at once. The high tempo, machine-like drumming of Jeff Ward propels the songs through intensity and precise, sharp guitar rhythms from Al Jourgensen. There are very few of the samples that mark Ministry's sound, but much of the excellent sound quality Jourgensen and Barker are infamous for creating. Jello Biafra's vocals, meanwhile, are precisely what you expect from this legendary figure. The lyrics cover a wide range of topical subjects, from drug raids to paranoia of "Big Brother". Lard also covers the Dr. Demento staple, "They're Coming To Take Me Away", and giving it a bizarre and lengthy treatment. The CD finishes out with a very lengthy song called "I Am Your Clock" that is insightful but entirely difficult to wade through.
Fans of Ministry's faster, thrashier moments as well as anyone with interest in Biafra's unique worldview should already have this in their collection. Last Temptation of Reid is ultimately a very satisfying album that often surpasses the main projects of both parties involved.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 07/2001
|©1997 Alternative Tentacles
1. War Pimp Renaissance
2. I Wanna Be A Drug-sniffing Dog
4. Generation Execute
5. Faith Hope And Treachery
6. Peeling Back The Foreskin Of Liberty
Thank goodness for Jello Biafra. Without him, the world would be a less aware place. His rapier wit and stunning knowledge of politics and the state of things paired with his original voice make any project he does worthy of attention. Lard happens to be his collaberation with Paul Barker and Al Jourgensen of Ministry. Their previous two releases, The Last Tempation of Reid and The Power of Lard, are classic examples of hardcore meeting industrial.
Seven years later, the basic Lard sound is still intact, though not as breakneck as it was on Reid. Instead, the music falls more into the Pailhead (the Barker/Jourgensen project with Ian MacKaye) category of rhythmic metallized riffs. Jello, of course, is Jello. His voice stands alone in the underground. Naturally his lyrics are scathing and biting, calling attention to all sorts of wrongs, such as the war on drugs ("I wanna be a drug sniffing dog"). The last track, "Sidewinder", has the classic Lard epic feel, also being the strongest song on the album.
Though not quite the steamroller of the previous album, Pure Chewing Satisfaction is an okay release that deserves the attention of both metalheads and punkers alike. If nothing else, read the collage of clippings on the inside. The bizarre, but true, stories are worthy of an education unto itself.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 06/1997
|©2000 Alternative Tentacles
1. 70s Rock Must Die
2. Volcanus 2000 (We Wipe The World)
3. Ballad Of Marshall Ledbetter
Lard projects are often years apart and as it seems, less prolific in terms of songwriting. The project, containing Jello Biafra matched with Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker, took three years between this and their last release, Pure Chewing Satisfaction. Pure Chewing Satisfaction turned out to be an album that was interesting initially but failed to keep a listener's attention over time, so perhaps a brief three song EP turned out to be a wise move. As obvious as it may be from the album artwork and title, 70's Rock Must Die proves that none of these men share any of the nostalgia for that decade that seems to be permeating current culture. The title track assumes every single cliche element of 70s rock and incorporates it into a hilarious and scathing parody of cock rock. Biafra even inflates his falsetto more than ever to assume the role. The other two tracks are a bit more standard Lard pieces of heavy, semi-industrialized rock similar to the slower tracks of The Last Temptation of Reid. The EP isn't particularly the most necessary CD you'll purchase this year, but the title track's brilliance makes it something you do need to hear sometime in your life.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 02/2002