One of the original innovators of the amalgamation of metal and industrial synth combined with pointed anti-establishment lyrics and a sense of purpose, KMFDM has been consistently on the hard rock scene since 1984. Originally organized as a performance art project, the German-born group Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitlei (loosely, “no pity for the majority’) recently released the follow-up to their teaser EP Yeah!, aptly called HELL YEAH, their 20th studio album. They are currently touring in the UK to promote the new album, and plan to integrate the United States into their schedule beginning in October. The artwork for the new album sees the return of longtime KMFDM graphic artist Aidan “Brute!” Hughes, whose style is immediately apparent and instantly recognizable as the band’s stylistic artistic face.
The new album shares a constantly rotating cast of band members, with co-founder Sascha Konietzko being the head of this industrial metal Voltron. The band members rotate throughout their 20 album streak, excepting Konietzko, and Hell Yeah’s lineup consists of Konietzko, Lucia Cifarelli returning for vocals and keyboard, Jules Hodgson on guitar/bass, Andy Selway on drums, and Steve White on guitar.
So how does Hell Yeah measure up to their prior works? In short: a doppelganger of their style, yet with always-new industrial and club-like elements. Songs like “Hell Yeah” and “Freak Flag” are contributions to KMFDM’s unmistakably unique sound; a blind listening would immediately identify these, and songs like “RIP the System,” as KMFDM without a second guess. It’s not simply the similarities of this album to others of the band’s that are striking, however. The slow evolution of sound from KMFDM can be attributed in part to the band’s revolving line-up, as well as influences from their side projects and their influences, the most famous of which is Ministry. Hell Yeah scales back a bit from the club beat, holding solid to their more industrial roots and easing a bit on the metal riffs from previous records. The message is as political as ever: “RIP the System,” “Total State Machine,” and “Glam, Glitz, Guts & Gore,” especially the last of those, are as subtle a knock on the state of our current pop culture and politics as a Sarah McLachlan adoption commercial. Considering today’s political and economic state, I personally consider it a necessary commentary from a band that’s known for speaking out giving exactly zero fucks about criticism.
Hell Yeah is produced by earMUSIC/KMFDM, and drops on Aug. 18th this year. The band is known to be warm and receptive to fans throughout all their venues, a distinction I desperately wish was more commonplace, and is a feature to look forward to on this coming tour. For this album, in sum: Hell Yeah, oh Hells Yes.