Sturm & Drang Tour 2002


I wanted Sturm & Drang because Bill Rieflin was involved with this particular incarnation of KMFDM, replacing Marilyn Manson’s newest paramour Tim Skold. Bill’s the fucking man, but also I’ve always held the opinion that KMFDM’s true power lies so much more in the performance sphere than in studio recordings. Under the glorious hot lights and sweat, KMFDM’s smirking Wagnerian metal fury comes off so much biggerlouderfastermore than on wax, where sometimes the end result is akin to having my face repeatedly bashed against a stainless steel coffee table. Enjoyable for a few minutes, perhaps, but ultimately I will black out.

The Bitches:

En Esch’s presence is missed WAY more than I thought he would be. I pine for his disco perv theatrics, fascinating outfits and strident, distorted vocals. Even keeping the KMFDM name without him is a dubious enterprise; didn’t the MDFMK venture go off without a hitch anyway? Why reverse the inversion?

Besides the fact that a KMFDM show will always be enjoyable (and the disc does communicate this ably), there doesn’t seem to be any particular hunger or mission behind this incarnation of KMFDM. And I’m not fucking slighting the players in the least; Sascha’s always the shit, Raymond Watts is an able frontman for any band (he borders on genius in Pig), I’ve already mentioned Rieflin and the rest bring the thunder as required. However, the problem with KMFDM is that at times they become so immersed in this deconstruction of metal, noise and electronic dissonance that the end result (the songs) is a little tedious, and everything sinks into distorted sonic mud. Or when the boys get a little too clever for their own good, like on the atrocious cover of “Boots.” If Megadeth couldn’t make it work, than nobody can make that clunker work. Or “YoHoHo,” a take-off on pirate sea shanties, or even the ironic macho call to arms “Find It, Fuck It, Forget It” which never was one of their stronger numbers. At least they’re all lumped together so I can get them all out of the way at once.

And c’mon, obviously there are songs I wish had been included. I would have loved to see Sascha and Watts take on Ogre’s “Torture,” fr’instance.

Maybe the punk side and the disco side are constantly at odds, so that’s why some of the songs are so messy and not that enjoyable. Maybe it’s because they’re too trapped in “being KMFDM” and all the anti-fascist deconstructionist trappings that are entailed in that.

But when it works it works.

Don’t get me wrong, there’re some fucking classics on here, like opener “D.I.Y.” replete with the most beautiful fist-pumping coda/chorus EVER, and it’s everything that’s good and punk about KMFDM distilled into roaring, spiky seconds. It’s when the big concepts and battering-ram excecution merge for pop perfection. “Dirty” is another gem, sleazy aggro-metal, mixed with sprawling unhurried electronics, all done mid-paced classic thrash style and lots of “K-M-F-D-M” chants — just like hip-hoppers do, and that’s so fucking cool when a band has an identity and builds it up with bombastic guitar chords and (I hope) Raymond Watts slithering all over it. “Hothole” is evil and sweaty and caked with various body fluids — check out the chorus that confirms dazed regret and bruises, “I never dreamed it would come to this.” “Spit Sperm” is a pretty cool, shuddering monster.

I think “Megalomaniac” was the concert opener the two or three times that I saw KMFDM; here it’s paced in the final leg of the race, which is just fine. Incite a fresh crowd, or rowse fatigued bodies, either way. It’s damn cool, pounding four-on-the-floor body music, clipped distorted guitars and Sascha’s mass distorted vocals. Along with plenty of pro-KMFDM sloganeering. No one loses here. It’s another one of their perfect songs. Way catchy, ebbs and flows on waves of synth blips and punk shouting. Ride the snake, man.

Metropolis Records:

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