September 25, 2019 KMFDM – Paradise (Album Review)
Fascism might be on-trend at the moment, but Industrial stalwarts KMFDM are prepared to spit in the face of authoritarians everywhere with the ironically-titled Paradise. Metropolis Records deliver the electro-fusion opprobrium on Friday, September 27th, 2019.
There are simply no musical boundaries when you are KMFDM. With 35 years of counterculture and nihilism beneath the belt of Founder and Frontman Sascha “Käpt’n K” Konietzko, the talented musician continues to push new boundaries while forcing his listeners to think while they dance. Arguably one of the most prolific artists of our time, the German Industrial group has produced twenty full-length studio albums, including, but hardly limited to, 1995’s Nihil, 2002’s Attak, 2011’s WTF?!, and 2017’s Hell Yeah.
Fresh off the heels of 2018’s Live In The USSA, their fourth live album, the prolific Konietzko and co. present Paradise—and for their epic 21st album, KMFDM refuse to simply rest on their laurels. The band’s current four-piece core—Frontman Konietzko, Vocalist Lucia Cifarelli, Guitarist Andee Blacksugar (of Black Sugar Transmission), and Drummer Andy Selway—craft an 11-song, self-produced collection that explores bold new terrain while bringing back some much-beloved and familiar faces (or voices, as it were).
Paradise opens to the juxtaposition of crunchy guitars and catchy Hip Hop influences on “K•M•F,” featuring the verbal assaults of Rapper Andrew “Ocelot” Lindslay. An intriguing socio-political commentary on the brainwashed zombies who allow the state to control everything, even their minds, the track points a middle finger at worldwide affairs in 2019—and it places the blame. You know the type: they eat up their false freedoms that have been presented on a silver-platter by false idols who simply want blood.
Going gritty with chugging guitars, “No Regret” gets Metal with its adamant rallying cry “my life, my rules, my fight!” Meanwhile, we’ve all been using the expression “Oh My Goth” since the early 2000s, so why not turn it into a song? Okay, yes, Razed In Black already did, but KMFDM take their stab at embracing the sexy hurt with a dark Alt Rock ambiance that allows Cifarelli to shine with her sultry, queen of hell vocals.
Synths and percussion begin the enticing sway of the eight-minute-long, Dub meets Electro Metal “Paradise,” a viciously witty condemnation of the worldwide rat race. Puppets, ask yourselves: are we all living on a planet that is a “paradise for assholes?” Ruminate on that as the band groove for several minutes, crafting luscious eargasms to make your time on this planet a little less wretched.
Certain to be a favorite among fans, “WDYWB” presents a classic KMFDM feel—much in thanks to longtime alumni Cheryl Wilson’s “soul mama” vocals—as it spins across the Disco-dusted dance-floor to inspire listeners to be who they want to be and design their own fate. This flows flawlessly into the alluring ode to gluttony and greed, “Piggy,” which features the electrified, funk bass skills of Doug Wimbish (Tackhead, Living Colour).
Next, we are all cogs in the wheel of the mechanized “Disturb the Peace,” a frustrated acknowledgement of our repeated mistakes and our inability to learn from them. (“Leaders fail, failures lead,” after all.) If we want to make change, we’re going to have to fight for it and shake the foundations—because, sadly, “fascism is in fashion again.” Then, to lighten the mood only slightly, bespelling Industrial dancer “Automaton” weaves a distorted spell.
It’s been 16 years since Raymond “PIG” Watts performed with KMFDM, but they welcome him back to the fold with open arms for the gritty, fat bass lines of “Binge Boil & Blow.” Continuing to turn the clock back, a cascading waterfall of synths opens “Megalo,” an intentionally self-aggrandizing ode to the nihilistic heralds of counterculture, the band that does it better than all the rest. Sound familiar? That’s because the track is a new rendition of the classic “Megalomaniac,” off 1997’s Symbols.
Ultimately, they end with a question: Where is God? Well, God ain’t here, friends—or so KMFDM claim on the Dub x Electro Metal x Reggae-dusted “No God.” With a swaying pace peppered by heavy electronics, the band explore the idea of a world without the original OG. Ending on this note, KMFDM truly leave no stone unturned: they crucify fascism, authoritarianism, violence, and religion, all while crafting rebellious rockers that will lead you out onto the dance-floor.
On Paradise, KMFDM sound like an Industrial eargasm as they author music that says something bold and takes an obvious, anti-authoritarian stance. Relevant to our divided times, they lyrically explore hot-button topics as they continue to experiment with an endless profile of sounds. Scathing and confrontational, yet fully suitable to a sultry dance number, KMFDM spit the most luscious condemnation put to record. So, if Earth is a paradise for assholes and fascism is trending, KMFDM is having none of it! Loud, proud, and still standing after three and a half decades, Cryptic Rock give Paradise 4.5 of 5 stars.