Another year, another new KMFDM album. If only every band were so prolific! The five letter word this time is KUNST, which is German for ‘art.’ Appropriate for an album that pays homage to the jailed Russian punkettes in Pussy Riot. Great classic Brute cover too – boobs, chainsaw, cutting down a giant cross. No agenda there, no sir!

As usual, we begin with a party-starter. The title track is pretty much your standard KMFDM anthem: chunky guitar riff, big dance beats, and the so-shticky-it’s-endearing habit of calling out songtitles and the band name as lyrics. Throw in a reprise/nod to “Leid und Elend” from the Symbols album and you’ve set the tone for the rest of the album.

Every track here is a whir of pumping dance beats, distorted vocals, anthemic choruses and guitars that alternate between pulse and liquefy. “Ave Maria” is a Lucia-fronted electronic bit of skulk and lurch, like a Dr. Wily stage from a Mega Man soundtrack. “Quake” and the vaguely post-punky “Pseudocide” are faster and heavier, with more guitar heroics and battlefield brak-brak-brak in each. The intensity hits higher levels with the whisper-to-a-shout of “Hello” (Lucia at her most pissed-off), and the EBM barrage of “The Mess You Made,” co-written with Swedish industrial rock act Morlocks.

The three big catchy choruses here belong to “Pussy Riot,” “Animal Out” and album closer “I <3 Not.” Two are Lucia tracks, and no surprise there – she’s pretty much owned the catchiest cuts on every KMFDM album in recent memory. “Pussy Riot,” like “Kunst,” also dips into the discography with a reprise of the chorus from “Terror” (“I try to keep my faith alive/I cannot keep my hate inside”), off of NIHIL. “Animal Out” is just straight-up KMFDM awesomeness, and the best track on the album – bouncy, propulsive and rifftastic. “I <3 Not” has the most old-skool industrial sound on the album – a nice throwback to early stuff like MONEY or NAIVE. Electronic squawk over stripped-down beats and barbed-wire guitar fragments, with a lurching, chanted vocal by Kap’n K. The whole thing reminds me of Rammstein’s monolithic “Du Hast,” but that just means it’ll easily get stuck in your head, just like a, um, stray bullet.

KUNST doesn’t contain many departures or surprises, but there also aren’t any pace-killing, off-kilter experimental tracks. The band has also thankfully avoided dipping into modern electronic genres like dubstep or whatever you call the Harlem Shake. By now, KMFDM knows what they do best – beats, riffs and electronic boogie – and that focus has given us the most consistent and fun batch of their songs in years.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
March 26th, 2013


  1. Commented by: Teeph

    No mention at all that after, what? Twenty-nine years of conceptual continuity? After all that time KMFDM finally, finally, FINALLY actually acknowledges and plays with the “Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode” urban legend about their name?

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