Vowels Optional

KMFDM rails and rhymes against right-wing tyranny

Konietzko, however, keeps KMFDM's lineup in constant flux, possibly to counteract the increasing blandness of the material. "I got really bored with the limited contributions and capabilities that the other guys had," he says, then gives a sharp raspy cough. In 1999, he even resorted to breaking up the band only to re-form and christen it MDFMK, a relatively desperate cry for attention. The cast of WWIII brings Watts -- after more than a decade of limited success as an industrial solo artist, often under the name Pig -- back to KMFDM. Drummer Reiflin is now on tour with R.E.M.

"It's great for him," raves Konietzko, who calls Reiflin "an excellent musician -- so versatile -- who never got paid well. Now he gets a paycheck and a half every week! If anyone ever needed a break, it's Bill Reiflin."

Maybe the drummer got lucky; former compatriots often pay a high price to associate with Konietzko. For instance, his old bandmate, Deutsch-born guitarist/singer En Esch -- apparently a major contributor to KMFDM's early work -- is summarily dismissed. "He's not in the band," Konietzko relates, "and I have no idea what's going on with him, not at all."

KMFDM: Kill Mom for Drug Money?
KMFDM: Kill Mom for Drug Money?

Launching WWIII with Watts and Konietzko are guitarists Joolz Higson and Steve White, drummer Andy Selway, and Cifarelli. A nice foil for the über-masculine Konietzko, Cifarelli howls and spits most convincingly, except when she tries to really sing and ends up sounding unnervingly like Pat Benatar. Using extremely aggressive and confrontational music to protest aggressive confrontation seems backassward on the face of it, but for Konietzko, it's just an easy way to keep KMFDM fair and balanced.

"Pity for the Pious" slowly grinds and churns as the sheep-like self-righteous pass through its crushing gears. Stenciled slogans like "Tyranny Terror and Lawless Violence" shout out a vivid riot of red. And on "Jihad," Konietzko looks around and pronounces homo sapiens "A dying species/Poor sick dumb numb feeding feces.""It's definitely time to start becoming politicized," admonishes Konietzko, ignoring the fact that industrial-rock stalwarts like Skinny Puppy and Consolidated also undertook similar campaigns to fight for the oppressed, with well-intentioned but less-than-entertaining results. "We gotta make a living like everyone else," Konietzko concedes, explaining KMFDM's frequent forays into self-effacing humor.

"Intro," which closes out WWIII, maintains that "This is the biscuit's crux/Solid rock against the flux/Ultra-heavy beat deluxe/KMFDM forever sucks!"Then Konietzko introduces each band member behind a boring metal vamp, saving himself for last: "I am Kapt'n K, the Korruptor of youth/My word is gospel of the honest truth/I am the father of industrial rock/and if you don't believe me, you can suck my glock!"

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