It's sad to say, but Ministry has become industrial rock's portrait of Dorian Gray. While the group continues its spiral toward irrelevance, musicians once associated with it continue to surprise with their subsequent work. Trent Reznor (once part of Revolting Cocks) is one obvious example, but even players relegated to the background have begun to shine. Chris Connelly, for instance, once caterwauled like Johnny Rotten in Ministry and RevCo; now, he's a published poet with a beautiful band (The Bells) more inspired by Scott Walker than Throbbing Gristle. Former Ministry drummer Martin Atkins has become an industrial-rock mogul with Invisible Records and his constantly rotating crew of Pigface cronies. Now another former Ministry drummer, Bill Rieflin, has entered the fray. Because of the black-leather-clad company he once and still occasionally keeps, Rieflin's unveiling as a David Sylvian-esque art-rocker comes as a welcome surprise. Perhaps the stylistic shift is tempered by the fact that on his first solo outing, Birth Of A Giant, Rieflin has roped in not only old pal Connelly, but also art-rock pioneer Robert Fripp. The album's resemblance to past Sylvian/Fripp collaborations—it even utilizes the talents of experimental bassist (and frequent Fripp team member) Trey Gunn—couldn't have escaped the artists' minds. To Rieflin's credit, Birth Of A Giant does veer toward the rockier end of the art-rock spectrum, and even if Fripp's presence can't be ignored, this is clearly Rieflin's show: He serves not only as drummer but principal songwriter, producer, keyboardist, bassist, guitarist, and singer. Fripp and Gunn are just icing on the cake. "Open Mouth," "Endless Day," and "Spy Thriller" offer busy but coolly businesslike grooves, funky and edgy at the same time. A few other tracks, including "Birth Of A Giant" and "Secret Café," seem more rooted in improvisation, making the prospect of the companion Rieflin/Gunn/Fripp collection Repercussions Of Angelic Behavior all the more tantalizing.