AllMusic Review by James Mason
Produced during Ministry's most fertile period (1988-1991), Lead into Gold is the one side project that showcased Paul Barker's compositions. His initial forays into solo work, the Faster Than Light and Idiot EPs, had their moments of excellence but were weighed down by lazy songwriting. Age of Reason, Barker's follow-up full-length album, has the same problem. For every slice of greatness like "Faster Than Light" (which appears here in a different mix than on the EP), there is throwaway material like "13," a go-nowhere pastiche of electro drums, samples of children laughing, and Moog keyboards. Throughout the album, all of the staples of the industrial genre are on display (clanging percussion, martial rhythms, harsh keyboards, etc.), but the material never rises above the sum of its parts. It is not known if these tracks were submitted as Ministry material and rejected, but "A Giant on Earth" (co-written with Al Jourgensen) sounds like an embryonic version of "Scarecrow," which appeared on Ministry's breakthrough album, Psalm 69. Barker handles all the instrumentation with the exception of guitar, provided by Stuart Bang Zechman, who would later join Stabbing Westward for a brief time, then Filter. Barker would work solo again, with similar results, as Pink Anvil.