Thursday, 14 August 2014

Review: KMFDM – 'We Are KMFDM'

'We Are KMFDM'

In the world of industrial rock KMFDM need no introduction. The quintet have been flying the flag of “Ultra Heavy Beat” for thirty years now. Originally founded as Kein Mehrheit Fur Die Mitleid (No Pity For The Majority), an audio-visual art collective, they quickly began to experiment with a crossover techno-metal sound that yielded hits such as 'Juke Joint Jezebel', 'A Drug Against War', 'Megalomaniac', 'Anarchy', 'Hau Ruck', 'World War III' and 'Godlike' making them the pride of Chicago's Wax Trax! Records.

The band's line-up has revolved and they have relocated their base of operations several times in their history, but they have admirably always stuck to their guns in terms of conceptual continuity. Therefore its nice to see that to celebrate their thirtieth year in operation, the band have opted to release a live album compiling some of their greatest hits in all their in-your-face glory.

Old, well loved tracks sit comfortably alongside recent hits such as 'Kunst', 'Pussy Riot', 'Krank', and 'Rebels In Kontrol'. You can argue that the band's sound hasn't really developed much in their history. But that is missing the point. The band give their fans what they want and what they expect. And every new album still manages to sound heavy and fresh.

As far as live albums go, this is pretty solid. Sometimes they can be blatantly overdubbed or on the other end of the spectrum they can just sound sloppy. 'We Are KMFDM' sounds polished, but most importantly, it sounds live. The mixing is up to the same standard as you'd expect from their studio output, but it preserves the raw and visceral nature of the band's performance. The brief bits of banter and crowd noise add to the overall atmosphere but are perhaps a bit too subtle in their use merely book-ending each song and it would have been nice to hear some of the sing-a-long moments.

Live albums aren't to everyone's tastes. But for those who do like them, 'We Are KMFDM' is a safe purchase. Some of the band's greatest hits and their thirty-year experience as a live performance act come together for a slick and high-quality package that stands alongside some of the best live industrial rock albums from the past couple of decades like 'Last Tour On Earth' and 'And All That Could Have Been'.

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