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Album Review

KMFDM's seventh album, Nihil, finds the band sitting comfortably in the groove it started with 1990s Naïve. At this point, the German outfit has become an industrial musical collective, with various contributing vocalists and musicians coming in and out of the fold, while the nerve center of the group continues to be founders En Esch and Sasha Konietzko. Additionally, the group's ingenious marketing/merchandising skills (using the bold-faced KMFDM logo, idealistic sloganeering, and appropriately simplistic comic book artwork of Brute) have given the band a powerful, iconic image. The anthemic "Juke Joint Jezebel," with its disco-diva vocals (courtesy of Jennifer Ginsberg), remains the band's biggest "hit" to date; it is an enduring and indispensable dancefloor favorite at goth/industrial clubs around the world. Other high points include the politically charged "Terror" and "Disobedience." Throughout the album, there is a core of intelligence which lifts KMFDM above many of their contemporaries. Significant contributions by growling vocalist Raymond Watts and super-tight guitarist Gunter Shulz add new colors to the KMFDM palette, and the overall production skills on Nihil are state of the art. While industrial music has a reputation for being abrasive, KMFDM's sound is actually quite polished and tight, with any real "noise" expertly airbrushed out of the mix. Which doesn't diminish the impact of the material; it merely streamlines the band's attack.


Formed: 29 February 1984 in Hamburg, Germany

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Such industrial alt-metal outfits as Nine Inch Nails and Ministry received the lion's share of press and commercial success during the '90s, but a handful of other bands slugged it out for just as long (or much longer), including KMFDM. The band's name has been the subject of countless debates among fans over the years as to what it stands for (their record company even went as far as holding a contest in 1994 for fans to submit possible meanings, resulting in more than 1,000 entries), but the confirmed...
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