Monday, December 23, 2002

Music Review

KMFDM - Attak

I just got this album last week, purchased with a gift card, though after some research I discovered that buying this album wouldn't have broke my RIAA boycott. This album was released by Metropolis Records. They are not on the RIAA member list. They also support one of my favorite net-radio stations, Digital Gun Fire by allowing them to play tracks from their artists royalty free! Good going guys!

Anyway, back to my review of Attak. Lets just say its been in my car since I bought it and I have barely listened to anything but it, while in my car. It's not all great, but all in all it's a very good album. It would be well worth purchasing, gift card or not.

A little history, KMFDM has been around nearly 20 years. Their name is actually an acronym of: "Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid", loosely translated, from German, it means, "No Compassion for the Masses." In other words, they don't much care for people who act like sheep and follow trends, leaders and other things mindlessly. This is a common theme in many of their songs too. One lyric, for instance, says, "Do we sit in the saddle or are we just cattle?" I think that says it all.

  1. Attak/Reload - My second favorite song on the CD. It has strong crunching guitars and a nice danceable beat. The lyrics of the whole album are a mix of male (many by Sascha Konietzko, who has a Ramstein like growl) and female (Lucia Cifarelli). In this one Sascha is a backup singer to Lucia who lends some softness to the music. Not soft as in pop, but soft as in sexy and approachable. Industrial music is notorious for being a bit abrasive. And don't think for a moment just because Lucia is a woman that her singing is in any way less “Industrial”. This song is a great hard rocking dance song with lyrics that complement the sound well.
  2. Skurk – Not a great song, but pretty decent. It's very much like many of KMFDMs older songs. Still good, but not unique. Some of the lyrics hit home pretty sharp though. I won't go into details, but “I bleed forever and not a thing you do can comfort me,” touches on a heavy insecurity of mine.
  3. Dirty – Good guttural lyrics and rocking dance beats. Again this is classic KMFDM sound. Listening to the song I thought the song was about being sexually dirty, but after I read the lyrics I think its actually about fighting to get off Heroin. I may be wrong. KMFDM has always been pretty positive in their lyrics. I think here they say, “Hey drugs will mess you up and kill you.” Ok so that doesn't sound so “positive” but at least it says there are consequences for drug use.
  4. Urban Monkey Warfare – Frankly I haven't a clue what the message is in this one, but it's a good one. I think i like it mostly because of the MONKEY!! There is a mention of code cracking and hacking, but there isn't enough evidence to support the claim that this is a hacker song.
  5. Save Me – Lyrically this song is quite different. I think that Tim Skold is the singer on this one and lets Sascha take backup. It has a sad passion not unlike Linkin Park or Staind. “I travel this road on my own now, there's no way you could understand.” Musically it's still KMFDM but with a darker Goth feel to it. This song is growing me on me, especially after really listening to the lyrics.
  6. Yohoho – I'll be honest. I found the premise of this song dumb and always skip over it. It's like something I'd expect to hear from Lords of Acid, but at least they'd make it a bit more fun.
  7. Superhero – My favorite song on the album by far. I read one review that said this song was pop. Oh come on man. This isn't Britney Spears! Lucia again takes over the lyrics and really makes this a fun, sexy rocking song. It's a bit heavy on the layers, but it works. What I mean about layers is that there is a lot of sound layering. Many sounds coming from every where swirling around. It could very easily have become chaos, but Sascha maintained control. This is one of those songs you wanna turn up loud, drive fast to singing along. Lucia shows off her ability to have local range and yell as well.
  8. Sturm & Drang – KMFDM titled their 2002 tour on this song and I think it was appropriate. This is what I'd consider Arena Industrial. It's just a good rallying song. Perfect for getting a concert up and churning. Half the lyrics are in German so I'm not 100% sure of the meaning, but given that this is KMFDM, I'm sure they are saying, “Be more than you are.” Heavy Industrial Rock Anthem.
  9. Preach/Pervert – Not bad, but nothing special. I could live without this one, along with Yohoho. Oh well.
  10. Risen – This is the song I heard on Digital Gun Fire that made my ears perk up and say, “Hey, I need to check these guys out again.” My last KMFDM album was back in 1996. I was curious what they had come up with. I'm not disappointed at all. I've heard this called an Industrial rap song. I can't help but laugh at that. It's nothing even remotely close to rap music. It has a message, but it doesn't really take itself too seriously. You can sing along with it. Sascha and Skold play vocal tug of war. This is the only thing I can think that guy who said it was rap was referencing. The way they go back and forth is reminiscent of RUN DMC or Beastie Boys. Still not rap. The lyrics are not too easy to understand sometimes though. “The eagle has landed” is actually, “The ego has landed” and one that I had to listen to a few times, sounded like, “Clash of the Titans”, when in fact it is, “Metal Detectors”. Yea seems difficult to believe that I'd get clash of the titans from metal detectors, but hey, remember English is a second language for these guys!
  11. Sleep - An interesting song that is part KMFDM but part not. I'm not saying this is a bad thing though. I really like the song. Another female vocalist, Dorona Alberti sings this one and she has a very powerful voice. This is a definite music genre breaker. It crosses a few boundaries. It's many and none of them at the same time.

My final thoughts, KMFDM brought enough of their identity across to this album so it was easily picked back up by fans, even those who haven't listened to them in 6 or 7 years. I have to respect that. Yet they also are trying new and quite successful branches. Constantly stretching the envelope. Any good electronic artist will do that. Sitting still in these genres is a good way to become yesterdays news. KMFDM on the other hand is probably one of the top five better known Industrial groups in the US. I would rank Nine Inch Nails and Ministry above them and other old school Industrial listeners would list Kraftwurk & Nitzer Ebb as well.

I give KMFDM – Attak a 5 out of 5 ranking. If you like heavy rock, strong beats and are wanting to give Industrial a taste, this would be a safe album.

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