CD Review

KMFDM - "Adios"

By Dan Century

AdiosOh, I get it, a heroin joke.

The first time I heard of KMFDM was in 1989/90 when they toured with Ministry. Back then their show consisted of one guy beating a drum pad with a stick (Sascha), one guy on guitar (Guenter) and a 6’8”, spastic, bald headed man in a ballerina costume (En Esch). They were unique, but pathetic compared with Ministry’s unrelenting sonic attack.

KMFDM’s true skill was producing one or two killer singles a year, starting with More and Faster and Virus back in ’89, and Naive and Godlike in 90’. This was the apex of the Wax Trax! era when bands like KMFDM, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult and any number of Ministry side projects (Revco, PTP, Acid Horse, 1000 Homo DJs) were churning out one underground dance floor smash after another. Great music for dancing — great music for sex!

Although they’ve always been prolific, KMFDM has only produced two consistently awesome albums: Naive and Nihil. A typical KMFDM album consists of one or two great singles, one or two “OK” tracks and 8 tracks of forgettable experiments. “Adios,” KMFDM’s last album EVER, is no different.

To quote Sascha from the Web site: “Skold* and I were hell bent on not compromising and instead make ‘ADIOS’ the best KMFDM album ever, the crowning glory of an era... ” ADIOS is NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, the best KMFDM album ever. It cannot touch the rock and metal thunder of NIHIL, the dance floor perfection of NAIVE or the tasty genre defying experimentation of AEIOU. ADIOS is, however, the QUINTESSENTIAL KMFDM album. All the KMFDM ingredients we’ve come to expect are here: the squeaky-clean production, metallic guitars, orchestral accents, groovy chick vocals and, of course, distorted chants of “KMFDM” sprinkled liberally throughout the album.

The album begins with Adios, a fast paced techno number and a bitter goodbye song. You’ll never say, “I gotta hear that again.” Sycophant, the second track, is boring dub, recalling their earlier moments — another forgettable track.

D.I.Y., the third track, is KMFDM at their best: bouncy electronic beats, orchestral keys and horns, chants of “KMFDM will never stop,” thrash metal guitars, etc. Killer track number one.

Today, track four, is an embarrassment…it sounds just like New Order. 10 years ago KMFDM would have never stooped to cheese like this. They might have stepped in it accidentally, but they never stooped to pick it up.

Much of the music on Adios sounds like video game music — just like Mark Mothersbaugh’s** work on video games like Crash Bandicoot, Adios is an onslaught of ultra clean 303 sounds, bleeps, burps, belches, and “robot farts”*** R.U.O.K. features plenty of “robot farts” and “sexy industrial dude vocals”****. Witness features 80’s sex-pot new wave diva Nina Hagen. She’s nuts and so is the song, about aliens and abductions. Growled evil alien chick vocals — I like it.

That’s All is the other killer song on the album. The track starts as inane house and then Ogre’s vocals kick in. The song breaks into the trademark thrash guitar, chants and sexy chick vocals that made KMFDM, well, legendary. Ogre’s vocal appearance makes the song. You will, without a doubt, have a fun time jumping around a dance floor to this song. Definitely worth picking up the single. I’ve already sung it in the shower, so you know it’s good.

Full Worm Garden sounds like a remix of something off of Skinny Puppy’s Too Dark Park remixed by the Pet Shop Boys. Some nice harsh moments, but it’s the closest Ogre has come to singing a theme to a game show. Kind of embarrassing. Rubicon is like a Cop Shoot Cop rip off in vocal style, lyric subject and chord progression. Which would be OK if it were Cop Shoot Cop, but it’s not, it’s KMFDM. If you know C$C and you listen to this song, you’ll hear what I mean.

Conclusion: KMFDM calls it quits***** releasing the quintessential KMFDM album. If you’ve bought every other KMFDM album, pick this one up. If you’re a DJ, pick it up. If you’re a casual listener, wait to see if DIY and That’s All come out as singles, and pick them up. If you’re like me, and haven’t bought a KMFDM album since NIHIL, save your cash and spend it on booze. Adios is like bad sex, it’s bad; but hey, it’s still sex...”and that’s all!”

Contact Information:
Wax Trax Records
*OK, who the fuck is Skold?
** Mark Mothersbaugh was the lead singer of DEVO. You know, Whip It! All Industrial bands worship DEVO, or if they don’t, they should!
*** Thanks Pan.
**** Pioneered by Trent and exploited by Sister Machine Gun.
***** Sascha has ditched En Esch and Guenter Schulz for Skold and cleverly retitled the band to, get this: MDFMK******.
****** Which stands for: MoveD on For More Kash?

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