Genre: Industrial Metal / Industrial Rock
Release Date: 1st March 2013
Label: Dependent / Metropolis
KMFDM have been a quite productive band since their reformation in 2002. Originally founded in Hamburg, Germany, in 1984, KMFDM moved to the USA in the 1990s where they enjoyed a massive popularity among the new Industrial Metal movement, next to trailblazers like NINE INCH NAILS or MINISTRY. In 1999, KMFDM disbanded but were restarted by Sascha Konietzko with a new line-up three years later. Since then KMFDM have released six studio albums, no less than eight compilations, two live albums, three remix albums and eight singles. So here's 'Kunst', the seventh studio album of the second incarnation of KMFDM. And as much they love to shout out catch phrases like ‘Achtung!’ or ‘Revolution!’ I'm tempted to shout one word back: Stagnation!
As exciting as KMFDM's anarchistic blend of heavy Techno beats, roaring Metal guitars, manic dance grooves and chanted slogans is, it is hard deny that their output has become a bit formulaic over the last few years. In a way, KMFDM have become the MÖTORHEAD of the Industrial genre. This isn’t the worst reference on the hand! KMFDM fans surely will be happy with the new album 'Kunst' but I cannot deny my desire for a bit more innovation. You don't have the feeling of getting the same old stuff in a new wrapping when it is a collection of really strong songs like the last album 'WTF?' but unfortunately 'Kunst' is not as strong as its predecessor. The title track and opening song 'Kunst' is arguably the strongest track from the new album, although KMFDM do the old trick to sing about themselves and cite old song lyrics to death here. They even dig out the old pun “Kill motherfucking Depeche Mode”, followed by a guitar hook that is evocative of 'Personal Jesus'. But the urging beat, the sweet keyboard line contrasted by sharp and ultra-heavy guitar riffs, do the trick here. This is surely going to be the club smasher of the album for sure!
Track 2 is 'Ave Maria', one of the songs for which Sascha Konietzko shares the lead vocals with his wife Lucia Cifarelli. 'Ave Maria' is a good song which is a little more melodic and poppier than most of the rest of the album, and in that sense a typical Konietzko/ Cifarelli song. With 'Quake' the super-aggressive Industrial Metal attacks are back, taken over by the following 'Hello' which starts with a double bass drum and a harsh guitars which could have been directly lifted of MINISTRY's 'Psalm 69' album. But the song breaks down after this violent beginning and turns into another alluring and quite electronic Lucia Cifarelli song. At the end of the song the MINISTRY-like guitar assaults are back, the song truly erupts again without warning. These contrasts make this an interesting song, definitely one of the stronger ones on this album.
'The Next Big Thing' features William Wilson from the Seattle-based band LEGION WITHIN followed by one of the key tracks of the album: 'Pussy Riot'! The title says it all, KMFDM prove once again that they are still a highly political band who is not afraid to stick out and voice an opinion. Lucia Cifarelli takes over the vocal duties for this smasher, and if you know KMFDM's last single 'Amnesia' you have a good idea what to expect here. 'Animal Out' takes a similar line, focusses a bit more on the synth grooves and mellifluous melodies – KMFDM doing disco again! 'The Mess You Made' is a six-minute monster and another collaboration, this time with Swedish band MORLOCKS, a fruitful liaison apparently and a most welcome injection of fresh vibes. The album closes with the sinister 'I ♥ Not' which features all major KMFDM traits plus and a turbulent 80s keyboard hook on top.
'Kunst' is a good album, there's no denying, but I cannot hide the fact that I felt more euphoric about new KMFDM releases in the past. It is too much KMFDM by numbers but then most fans will be happy with this, I guess. You get what you expect! A pity for all who had hoped to be surprised but this might be a minority in the KMFDM camp. If you are not too familiar with this band and in case you're up for a monster-stomper like `Kunst' or the hellish grooves of 'Ave Maria' or Animal Out' or bucket full of Industrial Metal songs reminiscent of the heyday of this genre, then go and get this album! I for one will go back and listen to the 'Angst' and 'Adios' to whet my appetite for the forthcoming KMFDM tour.
01. Kunst 5:01
02. Ave Maria 5:02
03. Quake 4:07
04. Hello 4:25
05. Next Big Thing 4:41
06. Pussy Riot 4:10
07. Pseudocide 3:36
08. Animal Out 5:06
09. The Mess You Made 6:05
10. I ♥ Not 4:32
Sascha Konietzko – vocals, synthesizers, programming, drum programming
Lucia Cifarelli – vocals, keyboards
Jules Hodgson – guitar, synths
Andy Selway – drums
Steve White – guitar, bass guitar, programming
http://www.kmfdm.net / http://www.myspace.com/officialkmfdm
Total: 8 / 10