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KMFDM
WWIII
(Sanctuary)
Stars graphics

You can, as always, ignore the political statements, which are as knee-jerk as ever, or you can laugh at them, the way the band do here, but with KMFDM itís never whatís actually said that matters. Tone, texture, and tempo are the signposts of the best KMFDM (alliteration is one of the few lyric devices they employ ó as in "Bullets, Bombs & Bigotry," a song as ravening and rhythmic as its title advises), and WWIII features the most luminous tones, the lushest textures, and the most-high-end tempos this veteran band have ever commanded at full-CD length. The incandescence is due in part to Lucia Cifarelli: anyone who remembers the high heat that house-music diva Liz Torres brought to a single song on KMFDMís 1991 Nihil will rejoice to find Cifarelliís vocals topping off just about every one of these 11 pieces. ("Here we go again, a beautiful girl and some dirty old men," announces Sascha Konietzko, the bandís founder, on "Intro," the CDís last cut.)

Equally as enticing as Cifarelli are the rhythms, catchy and multiple and unlike anything this usually straight-line band have attempted since their first CD, 1984ís Opium. Deep, layered, reverberating rhythms they are, drum and bass lines that sound as heavy as industrial ("Stars and Stripes"), as echo-effected as house ("Moron"), as undulant as funk ("Pity for the Pious"), as evocative as Cifarelliís (often cheaply sloganeering) vocals. And KMFDM have also acquired a new subtlety of means. Theyíve always smacked their fans in the face, but the acoustic-blues solo that opens up the title song, the cheesy David Bowie imitator who sings "Revenge" so campy, and the goth touches in "Blackball" all take the listener into the unexpected. Not that thereís none of the old KMFDM straight line here: the title song is all and only that, and so is "Bullets, Bombs & Bigotry." Who but KMFDM could turn three unmitigated evils into three untrammeled excitations?

BY MICHAEL FREEDBERG


Issue Date: November 7 - 13, 2003
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