Wurst |Metropolis Rec./KMFDM Inc., 2010|
1. D.I.Y. (Edit), 2. Tohuvabohu (Edit), 3. Son Of A Gun (Overhauled Mix Edit), 4. Juke Joint Jezebel (Single Mix), 5. Naive (Edit), 6. Sucks (12" Mix Edit), 7. Hau Ruck (Edit), 8. More and Faster (12" Mix), 9. Money (Radio Mix), 10. Megalomaniac (Single Mix Edit), 11. Virus (12" Mix Edit), 12. Light (Cellulite Radio Mix), 13. Anarchy (Edit), 14. Vogue (Edit), 15. Split (12" Mix Edit), 16. WWIII (Edit), 17. Godlike (12" Mix Edit), 18. A Drug Against War (Single Mix), 19. Power (Single Mix Edit)
With every release of The Best Of, set of singles, B-sides, remasters, mixes and remixes, KMFDM forces me to go back and listen to the first editions of the songs again just to be able to catch the changes. Though there are a lot of releases to check out, the official KMFDM discography lists over 29 albums and 26 singles, ranging from the middle of the 90's up to the present. http://www.kmfdm.net/discography/albums.htm
I believe that the die hard fans of KMFDM have memorized every segment of the songs by heart, so such compilation albums like Wurst are put out particularly for them.
The tracklist shows nineteen songs on the new album. The problem is that this is a compilation offering more or less the same songs which have been presented on similar collection albums put out by the band before. There are immortal tracks like Money, Godlike, Juke-Joint Jezebel, Naive, Light, Virus, Vogue, A Drug Against War and Split. It's a mystery to me why KMFDM hasn't tuned up such interesting songs like Unfit, Move On, Murder, Zip, Trash Up!, Thumb Thumb or Leibeslied which were placed on older albums, or even the whole record Don't Blow Your Top, which I find the poorest in their discography. I guess there are no doubts about it, the musicians stated clearly at the beginning of Wurst: "KMFDM will never stop".
Exalted tunes like the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio advertisement that introduces bestseller movies begins the album. The tune creates an intro to D.I.Y (Edit) then gets supported by a dynamic, arithmetically measured tempo very typical for KMFDM music.
Tohuvabohu (Edit) was enhanced up to match current electro-EBM style music, but still keeps its original features so it sounds more like a remix than a fresh mix. Other than that, Son Of A Gun (Overhauled Mix Edit) includes segments utilized often in trance music (let's say Infected Mushroom), though the whole song is based on a mixture of electronics, vocals and guitar riffs too. Basically, those short cut riffs create a characteristic KMFDM sound in my mind. If any other band accidentally used a similar idea, not even knowing about KMFDM before, then it would be very easy to target them as copycats anyway.
The biggest KMFDM hit - Juke-Joint Jezebel (Single Mix) comes next. I don't think there's anybody on the industrial rock, industrial, electro etc... scenes who would be unfamiliar with the song. In fact, every version of Juke-Joint Jezebel made by the band sounds more or less the same as the original track. To this notion I say very well, because it's a very cool, danceable song and it is probably the best in the KMFDM discography. It doesn't matter that it was recorded fifteen years ago. The above opinion also supports my review of the song Light (Cellulite Radio Mix) as well, which is yet another flagship track for the band.
Naive (Edit), with its characteristic moods introduces the listener to the sound of the legendary American Wax Trax! Label. If one is familiar with their releases you may be reminded of analogies to My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult music as well. Naive, like most of MLWTTK songs is based on house-rave beats with female backing vocals (in this track she's Lucia Cifarelli singing). Other similarities were underlined in the vocals, song arrangement (repetitive choruses, sampling) and its erotically tinted subject ("Tell Me Secrets, Tell Me Sweet Secrets").
Sucks (12" Mix Edit) is a perky KMFDM self-advertisement. The original song comes from the 1993 album Angst and contains an explanation of what KMDFM really is ("We're KMFDM and all other bands stink (…) You might think we're stupid but we're way above it, We don't give a shit and the kids just love it"). The musicians ironically laughed at various KMFDM shortage interpretations which were decrypted by some as "Kill Mother-Fucking Depeche Mode" or "Kylie Minogue Fans Don't Masturbate" while singing "We don't like Michael Jackson, we hate Depeche Mode, we don't care for Madonna or Kylie Minogue". They also explained in one sentence how their music was made ("Our music is sampled, totally fake, It's done by machines 'cause they don't make mistakes") and what was also worth mentioning them saying is ("No doubt about it, KMFDM sucks"). Oh well, self-irony is a weapon of minority anyway.
When it comes to Hau Ruck (Edit), it wasn't changed much after comparing to the original track. The new version is an interesting remix in the way the track holds dynamic guitar riffs, but the beat was improved upon and additional effects were layered on top of the vocals. Then, More and Faster (12" Mix) provides that WaxTrax! label sound again, however it also presents some glam rock style sounds probably grabbed from Gary Glitter's "Rock'n'Roll" hit before it continues to the end based on the sample.
Megalomaniac (Single Mix Edit) was adjusted to meet the needs of the clubbers, kept in a similar thread like the trance mood of Son Of A Gun, while Virus (12" Mix Edit) provides funky guitars and house music samples. Unfortunately, Anarchy (Edit) was mucked up by electro-gothic additions as well as Tohuvabohu (Edit) in a similar manner as described earlier.
Vogue (Edit) has always been a poor song, so the new mix didn't help. Other than that, Split (12" Mix Edit) is yet another jump into the WaxTrax! sound for the third time (or if one prefers – MLWTTKK), mainly thanks to the slap bass lines, groovy moods, female backing vocals and repetitive lyrics.
In the beginning of WWIII (Edit) there are some southwestern (Texas-like) music atmospheres (stepping + mandolin), but then the song becomes aggressive with a multitude of guitars, Lucia's screaming voice and a dynamic tempo.
Godlike (entitled 12" Mix Edit on this album) belongs among the ranks of the best songs by KMFDM, like Juke-Joint Jezabel and Light. In fact, its sound cannot be damaged easily under one condition – the original dynamics must be kept. It's an interesting mix that is kept short, leaving no time for a listener to get bored.
The sound of A Drug Against War (Single Mix) doesn't leave any doubts to what band made the song. Recognizable, short cut guitar riffs are empowered with fast, dynamic beats and the lyrics are sung with a saucy voice by Sascha Konietzko along with additional electronics layered throughout the background.
The album finishes with Power (Single Mix Edit), which has been a long time hit of KMFDM mainly thanks to Lucia's vivid voice, but very little was changed when compared in whole to the original edition.
On a final note, while listening to the Wurst album, I was drawn into thinking of KMFDM as if the band was chasing their own tail. The way I understand it is that a band usually retains a deep seeded need to stay creative and make songs. Then they release brand new albums with brand new songs. But, if a band releases a set of well known songs just mixed in different configurations every year or two, then it may mean that they simply have nothing more to say. Or, that the only thing that probably matters to them has become the sale of their merchandise to their die hard fans. Could it be that it's not about keeping a high positioned place on the scene anymore or being competitive to other bands playing industrial rock music?
It's enough though to look at the KMFDM Myspace profile where they have gathered over 98.000 fans between 2005 and 2010, but only the musicians of KMFDM themselves are the 'top 5 friends'.
I think that (not only my) expectations from the evolution of KMFDM are higher, mostly because they are one of the few industrial rock bands which survived fro over 20 years on the scene. Many musicians of other bands in the genre have since either quit their bands due to lack of ideas or turned to far away from activity in the music business.
However, one cannot deny that KMFDM have stayed professional when it comes to high quality music and production as well as set up a platform for stable self-advertisement on the Internet. That is also helpful to be able to run their own online store as well as maintain control of money coming from music and merchandise sales.
The Wurst album is recommended to persistent KMFDM album collectors first and foremost because it doesn't cast any new values amongst the bands history.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, 11/09/2010. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below)