KMFDM - Kunst
Industrial, Rock It's time for the 2013 KMFDM annual. They've released some form of release every year since 2005, alternating between new songs and remixes. And as it's an odd-numbered year, it must be time for fresh cuts from the studio! Keeping with the only-occasionally broken five-letter album title rule (I'd love to play bilingual Scrabble with these guys), it's time to get to grips with 'Kunst'.

And it's on the opening title track that we get the ultimate example of KMFDM's obsession with referencing themselves in their own songs. The uptempo industrial metal riff is competent but otherwise standard issue for the group, and I'm sure I've heard those synths before. And the lyrics? It's just a list of their songs titles, a brief "Thank You Brute", arranged into rhyming couplets, and then finally revealing that the band name actually means "Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode". I've never worked out what self-plagarism actually is, but this as close as you're ever going to get. And against all the odds, I'd still call it a masterpiece!

"Ave Maria" sees yet more abuse of old concepts, devising a Lucia-and-Sascha sung duet set to a throbbing Schaffel rythym and a lyric that seems to be only loosely derived from the Catholic verse of times past. Of course, the synthetic shuffle is the safest route to catchiness, and KMFDM have been long around to know how to not muck up a decent refrain when there's one the making. Tempos reach their fastest on "Quake", a well-executed but wholly unoriginal mix of revolutionary ranting and jackhammering riff blasts that seem not-so-distantly derived from Ministry's "Thieves".

By the time we hit track four, "Hello", we're definitely in the 'I'm sure I've Heard This Riff Before' territory. This wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that the original, electronic part of the song sounds rather insipid against the crushing wall of guitar noise, failing to provide the counterpoint that the whole loud vs quiet dynamic should deliver. And for their next cliché, KMFDM do the 'guest musician' thing and present William Wilson from Legion Within on "The Next Big Thing". His voice is your standard industrial gravel, not adding anything artistically to the bands sound, and probably doing more to promote his own career than KMFDM's.

Lucia grabs the mic back for "Pussy Riot", and there's nothing like a good protest song to wake up an album that's getting predictable. This is a snarling, scathing, bitching middle-finger from every angry woman who's picked up a microphone and set her frustrations to music, and that's exactly why KMFDM recruited her into the band full-time. That's just as well, given the following track "Pseudocide" is one clever piece of wordplay away from being a KMFDM-by-numbers album filler.

"Animal Out" is another Lucia-front track, heavy on the electronics but weak on any real spark. The second guest appearance on the album follows in the form of "The Mess You Made", featuring 'Morlocks' (whoever they are), but the members this outfit don't offer anything that the KMFDM regulars can't. Whatever happened to people like Nicole Blackman or F.M.Enheit appearing on KMFDM albums? Vocalists and musicians who actually provide distincitive variations. Even the rapper who appeared on 'UAIOE' made a difference to the regular sound of the band and hence prevented the collection from descending into predictability.

The final song "I (Heart) You Not" is a marginal improvement after a tedious trio of late-album songs, the throbbing electronics and guitar bursts purposefully marching the album to it's conclusion. But I still get the feeling that this album falls into all the traps that the every other KMFDM album of the 21st Century has... a good basic concept and three or four rousing anthems, but not enough good ideas to pad out an entire album. And their instance on playing this filler material live has driven me away from their live shows. And that's a real pity, because when KMFDM get it all pointing in the right direction, which they manage for just under half the album length, the 'Ultra Heavy Beat' has no equal.
3
Brutal Resonance

KMFDM - Kunst

6.0
"Alright"
N/A
Electroracle
Spotify
Released 2013 by Metropolis Records
It's time for the 2013 KMFDM annual. They've released some form of release every year since 2005, alternating between new songs and remixes. And as it's an odd-numbered year, it must be time for fresh cuts from the studio! Keeping with the only-occasionally broken five-letter album title rule (I'd love to play bilingual Scrabble with these guys), it's time to get to grips with 'Kunst'.

And it's on the opening title track that we get the ultimate example of KMFDM's obsession with referencing themselves in their own songs. The uptempo industrial metal riff is competent but otherwise standard issue for the group, and I'm sure I've heard those synths before. And the lyrics? It's just a list of their songs titles, a brief "Thank You Brute", arranged into rhyming couplets, and then finally revealing that the band name actually means "Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode". I've never worked out what self-plagarism actually is, but this as close as you're ever going to get. And against all the odds, I'd still call it a masterpiece!

"Ave Maria" sees yet more abuse of old concepts, devising a Lucia-and-Sascha sung duet set to a throbbing Schaffel rythym and a lyric that seems to be only loosely derived from the Catholic verse of times past. Of course, the synthetic shuffle is the safest route to catchiness, and KMFDM have been long around to know how to not muck up a decent refrain when there's one the making. Tempos reach their fastest on "Quake", a well-executed but wholly unoriginal mix of revolutionary ranting and jackhammering riff blasts that seem not-so-distantly derived from Ministry's "Thieves".

By the time we hit track four, "Hello", we're definitely in the 'I'm sure I've Heard This Riff Before' territory. This wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that the original, electronic part of the song sounds rather insipid against the crushing wall of guitar noise, failing to provide the counterpoint that the whole loud vs quiet dynamic should deliver. And for their next cliché, KMFDM do the 'guest musician' thing and present William Wilson from Legion Within on "The Next Big Thing". His voice is your standard industrial gravel, not adding anything artistically to the bands sound, and probably doing more to promote his own career than KMFDM's.

Lucia grabs the mic back for "Pussy Riot", and there's nothing like a good protest song to wake up an album that's getting predictable. This is a snarling, scathing, bitching middle-finger from every angry woman who's picked up a microphone and set her frustrations to music, and that's exactly why KMFDM recruited her into the band full-time. That's just as well, given the following track "Pseudocide" is one clever piece of wordplay away from being a KMFDM-by-numbers album filler.

"Animal Out" is another Lucia-front track, heavy on the electronics but weak on any real spark. The second guest appearance on the album follows in the form of "The Mess You Made", featuring 'Morlocks' (whoever they are), but the members this outfit don't offer anything that the KMFDM regulars can't. Whatever happened to people like Nicole Blackman or F.M.Enheit appearing on KMFDM albums? Vocalists and musicians who actually provide distincitive variations. Even the rapper who appeared on 'UAIOE' made a difference to the regular sound of the band and hence prevented the collection from descending into predictability.

The final song "I (Heart) You Not" is a marginal improvement after a tedious trio of late-album songs, the throbbing electronics and guitar bursts purposefully marching the album to it's conclusion. But I still get the feeling that this album falls into all the traps that the every other KMFDM album of the 21st Century has... a good basic concept and three or four rousing anthems, but not enough good ideas to pad out an entire album. And their instance on playing this filler material live has driven me away from their live shows. And that's a real pity, because when KMFDM get it all pointing in the right direction, which they manage for just under half the album length, the 'Ultra Heavy Beat' has no equal. Mar 22 2013

Jonny Hall

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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