Aug 2017 16

Category: Industrial / Rock
Blurb: Offering up some of the Ultra Heavy Beat’s most vibrant and varied songs yet, KMFDM is still running, even after 33 years, at full speed ahead with a nuanced album sure to have audiences shouting its name with each listen!


Sascha “Käpt’n K” Konietzko has led KMFDM through more than three decades as one of the pioneers of industrial/rock, and with this twentieth album, the Ultra Heavy Beat begins a bold new chapter in its history. Signing to earMusic in 2016 and releasing the YEAH! EP earlier this year, KMFDM hinted at what was to come from the first album of new material since 2014’s Our Time Will Come. To say that HELL YEAH is a departure from what audiences are accustomed to would not be an entirely accurate statement; rather that Konietzko and company have adjusted and refined the approach to create a fresh take on what we’ve all come to identify as the KMFDM sound.

The track “Rip the System v.2.0,” the closest the album comes to the satirical self-referential anthems of old as a new version of one of the band’s most beloved slogans – recycling lyrics from classics like “Glory” and “No Peace,” along with a familiar sample you might recognize from “Virus,” once again repurposed into an energetic synth lead. Never a band to shy from incorporating a wide range of stylistic influences, the “Oppression” tracks showcase a pair of brief and bouncy synth-laden dub interludes to bookend “Total State Machine,” one of the band’s heaviest and most directly confrontational tracks as thrashing guitars and thunderous beats underscore shouts of “Your government hates you!” One of the album’s heaviest songs is “Rx 4 the Damned,” on which Cifarelli’s “riot grrl” howls are as melodic as they are incendiary, the chorus undeniably loud and catchy, offset by the funky slap bass lines of the legendary Doug Wimbish of Living Colour and TACK>>HEAD, with Annabella Asia’s synth solo adding some color to the track. Similarly, “Murder My Heart” swings with the smoky, jazzy swagger of a song from the Weimar Republic era, Lord of the Lost keyboardist Gared Dirge offering up an irresistible Hammond B3 organ solo.

Konietzko is clearly in his element and at the height of his powers with HELL YEAH. The lyrics are as politically charged as ever, with songs like the aforementioned “Total State Machine” and “Rip the System v.2.0” along with the infectiously danceable “Fake News” easily providing a soundtrack for the disaffected and disenfranchised to unleash their fury at a corrupt establishment that continues to subjugate. Of course, HELL YEAH is in no shortage of guitars, with longtime cohort Jules Hodgson offering his unmistakable dexterity to the celebratory title track to help give it the flair and feel of a modern KMFDM classic, and MINISTRY’s Sin Quirin adding some additional power to the battering ram industrial assault of closing track “Glam Glitz Guts & Gore.” Lord of the Lost’s Chris Harms lends a complementary touch throughout the album with his own blend of guttural riffs and subtle leads, seamlessly integrated into Konietzko’s sonic arsenal. However, the album has a distinctly electronic focus as evidenced by songs like “Shock” with its pulsating electronic grooves and the trancelike stutters and techno beats of “Freak Flag,” as well as the slow glitches and distorted atmospheres of the ballad “Only Lovers,” all led by Cifarelli’s striking and seductive vocals. Finally, the Ultra Heavy Beat could not be so without that inimitable blend of tight programming and organic percussive assaults, provided by Andy Selway to give HELL YEAH some added force.

Everything about HELL YEAH lives up to its bombastic title, offering up some of the most vibrant and vigorous songs in KMFDM’s oeuvre and clearly showing no signs of wear after 33 years. Sure, there aren’t any callouts to the band’s name or any lengthy German diatribes, but the music is as heavy and as varied as we’ve come to know and love from the group, given a fresh injection of vitality from the wide range of guests and styles; add to that the mixing and mastering skills of Harms and Lord of the Lost associate Benjamin Lawrenz to make HELL YEAH a truly engaging listening experience. For all of its nuances, it’s still KMFDM doing what it does best with an album that will have you shouting its title repeatedly with each listen.
Track list:

  1. Hell Yeah
  2. Freak Flag
  3. Oppression 1/2
  4. Total State Machine
  5. Oppression 2/2
  6. Murder My Heart
  7. Rip the System v.2.0
  8. Shock
  9. Fake News
  10. Rx 4 the Damned
  11. Burning Brain
  12. Only Lovers
  13. Glam Glitz Guts & Gore

Website, Webstore, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, YouTube
Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Amazon Vinyl
Storming the Base CD
Storming the Base Vinyl
KMFDM Webstore CD
KMFDM Webstore Vinyl
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

1 Comment

  1. Hunter Psilo says:

    Awesome review and one of the ones I agree with the most. Their best album in many years!

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