KMFDM – “WTF?!” – Viva Music Album Review

May 2, 2011 in Album Reviews

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Tracklist

Krank * Come On – Go Off * Rebels In Kontrol * Lynchmob * Take It Like A Man * Vive La Mort! * Dystopia * Panzerfaust * Spectre * Amnesia * Death & Burial Of C.R.

On the album

Sascha Konietzko – vocals, synthesizers, programming, drum programming, party balloon solo, bass guitar, guitar, feedback guitar, metal percussion; Lucia Cifarelli – vocals; Jules Hodgson – guitar, synths, all programming and instruments, drum programming; Andy Selway – drums; Steve White – guitar, drum programming, synths, bass guitar, keyboards.

KMFDM’s latest album was released this last week of April 2011 with Metropolis in the US and KMFDM/Dependent Records in Europe. A rich and pungent feel is present throughout the album, with a reminder that no matter how further into their career KMFDM are, their power and skills are up and running. “WTF?!” is a reflection on the world of chaos and chaotically moving people who aimlessly grope for relevant landmarks in their lives. Not coincidentally, this world KMFDM puts great art into describing is one of chopped off ideals and values, and is well represented in song titles as well. Let’s just point to “Krank”, “Dystopia” and “Amnesia” as being symptomatic to this imagined (or real?) realm, while others, though textually less connected, force upon the listener the same feeling of being at a loss with one’s life, and exclaiming “WTF?!”. The opening track of the album, “Krank”, also the first single released last month topped the charts, and this does not come as a surprise. With a first superficial layer of sickness, with feverish hallucinations, it startles with this second layer, powerful but danceable, which is taking over, entirely. “Come On – Go Off” is a wonderful exercise in structure – it is easy to see it as a hive from which a swarm of bees is stirred. The same atmosphere is preserved in “Rebels in Kontrol”, which could well be the soundtrack for a revolution. It is not that it is energetic, but it is driving energy. Prior to the release of the first single off “WTF?!”, namely “Krank”, the band released “Rebels in Kontrol” in support of Wikileaks editor Julian Assange, following the legal actions taken against the latter. It is not random that KMFDM supports the freedom of speech that Wikileaks purports, since their statement is more than always outspoken and clearcut, and therefore the release of the track for free was just a re-statement of their position.

If you made it so far in the album, beware the “Lynchmob”. The song does what the title says, it is literally a musical rallying up of forces! And if you want to see what the KMFDM cake is without the icing on top, take a minute with “Take It Like a Man”; it is really a song with the KMFDM aggressive edge off; a teasing song with a very strong and stubborn personality.

The next track, “Vive la Mort!” is a majestic outcry that says “long live death!” – no matter how antithetical it sounds, its sound matches perfectly the lyrical contents and the end result is one enthralling, worth listening to many times song. The same holds true of “Dystopia”, that sets forth a world where even your illusions are shapeshifters: when you cannot bank on your illusions, what else is there left to do or say if not “WTF?!”. Add to that the fact that “Dystopia” (Greek for an upside-down utopia, the reverse of utopia, rather) is musically a very complex and sound-bound track, and you get the picture!

If you feel that you have heard “Panzerfaust” before but cannot really place it in time and space, please know it’s a self-cover of the track “Liebeslied” from the band’s 1990 album “Naïve” – only that the rendition is also the band’s first song with Italian lyrics. It casts the image of an overpowering and at the same time extremely needy female body – a gigantesque presence that is stifling – death by hair, death by eyes or death by breasts are very visually evocative images the song resorts to. It revolves around a very sensuous anatomy, one of a criminal without own will, edging on fetish and scoring the inability to see the completeness of the body.

Spectre”, the next track of the album is really one of a kind. It is as if you can feel through the dynamism of the song the hovering, haunting presence of a spectre taking over. And then it’s time for “Amnesia” to fool you, tempting you in the calm and cozy atmosphere of earlier track “Take It Like a Man”; but then to feed you to the lions of its own clamorous ending. A very invasive and almost supernatural track, “Death & Burial of C.R” is also the closing piece of the album, one full of vigor and offering the same brisk full scan of this imagined world where things will not work according to the logic that pushed so far humanity forward.

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