KMFDM are undisputed legends when it comes to industrial rock. Having been around since 1984 (the year I was born), they have constantly led the pack and paved the way for some of the biggest names in industrial rock (NIN, Rammstein, Combichrist, etc). Well, Sascha K and company have come back with album number twenty and showed once again why they’re the kings (and queen). Hell Yeah is noticeably dancier than any album previously. Its a nice touch because they still sound like KMFDM, albeit with something extra. That’s what a record should be, really…a progression from, and improvement on, what came before. The albums title track/opener makes this clear. Its a nice house beat and we hear band mastermind Sascha (Konietzko) actually sing as opposed to his usual demagogue-like spoken style vocals. It still has that anthemic call-to-arms vibe that almost every KMFDM song has. The next track, “Freak Flag” is even more at home in a club than the previous song. An infectious jungle-techno beat carries the song, then Lucia (Cifarelli, vocals) comes in with her unmistakeable delivery. Like the title track, its still very much a KMFDM song, it just has a new twist and its done well. “Oppression 1 of 2” is an interesting interlude style piece less than a minute long. Its a simple little reggae-style electronic drum, accented but a subtle synth arpeggio and liquid sounding pads. A spoken female vocal goes over it and it all is a lead up into “Total State Machine”. This song is probably the biggest banger of the whole record. This is absolutely what I expect from this band. It has Sascha’s signature vocal style (low rhythmic spokens, and scream/yelled Public Service style choruses. The chorus line shouts “the government hates you!” and it makes you believe him. The beat employs a pounding hammer rhythm mixed with almost dubstep/brostep wobbles and still avoids sounding like garbage. “Murder My Heart” is Cifarelli’s next lead number and has a great mixture of gothic and swing. The backing beat has a great old swing rhythm, while still firmly entrenched in industrial. Its something I could easily see Type O Negative slowing down a hair and playing. In my opinion the final song “Glam, Glitz, Guts & Gore” is the other penultimate KMFDM song in all forms. Its got the alliteration that Sascha seems so fond of, its again his signature vocals and its a dyed in the wool industrial machine song. A frantic machine-gun rhythm just punches you in the face and then keeps hitting you into the ground.
I’ve been listening to KMFDM since about ’95 when I picked up the Nihil album. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience them live, and have always loved that they have a unique style but still try to grow and expand without losing their identity. Hell Yeah falls firmly in that category. Its honestly the first of their albums since 2003’s WWIII to really grab my attention. The only thing I could really ask for is the return of Raymond “Pig” Watts as a main vocalist…perhaps in the future. All in all, I’m totally digging this album and its earned its place amongst its finer predecessors.
Hell Yeah is available worldwide August 18, 2017 through earMUSIC Records
Top Tracks: “Freak Flag”, “Total State Machine”, “Glam, Glitz, Guts & Gore”