KMFDM “Paradise” – album review

 

KMFDM are back with their explosive 21st album Paradise, and whether you’re new to the band or you’ve been a fan since day one of their now 35-year career, it’s a release you won’t want to miss!

The loud, fired-up sound of “K-M-F” packs quite a punch to start the album with. KMFDM is known for their revolving door of collaborators, and Paradise is no exception; for this track, the band is joined by rapper Andrew “Ocelot” Lindsley, a perfect fit for a song that blends hip-hop and industrial sounds impressively well. The result is an equally aggressive and catchy track that hooks you onto this album right away! “No Regret” follows, a song whose message is as powerful as its music: live with no regret, be yourself and don’t let anyone stand in your way! The message behind this song is familiar for long-time listeners of KMFDM, who know that the band doesn’t shy away from bold, empowering messages like this in their music. If you remember the side project Excessive Force, a line or two of the lyrics to “No Regret” might sound familiar…

Fans of Lucia’s former band Drill will feel like they’re been transported back to 1996 when they hear “Oh My Goth”; her voice truly shines alongside the dark ambiance of the song. And what can I say about that guitar solo? I find this is one of the tracks that really shows off guitarist Andee Blacksugar’s skills; after his impressive performance during KMFDM’s last tour, where he had to cram their whole set in less than 2 weeks, I’m happy to see him perform alongside the band again!

The title track “Paradise” follows, one you’ve likely heard (though in a shorter form) if you’ve watched the previously-released video for the song. “Paradise” is as much a call to action as it is a call-out towards the people who have made the world into what it is now, and they’re not afraid to say it: “this planet is a paradise for assholes!” The energetic, pressing sound of this track makes you want to go out and start a revolution, don’t you agree?

For “WDYWB”, the band is joined by Cheryl Wilson and her soulful vocals for an empowering disco-infused track that’s bound to become an earworm. Meanwhile, “Piggy” benefits from a touch of funk thanks to legendary bassist Doug Wimbish’s impressive skills. “Disturb the Peace” sounds almost minimalist compared to what we’ve heard so far, but that doesn’t stop it from being a powerful song; the less heavy and loud sound allow its lyrics, and its message, to take centre stage. “Automaton”, fitting to its name, has a very mechanical dance-y sound that’s not quite what you expect to hear from KMFDM, but they pull it off well regardless! I’d expect to hear this one played on dancefloors everywhere very soon.

“Binge Boil & Blow” marks a momentous occasion in the band’s history, one that many long-time fans never thought they’d witness: for the first time in 16 years, the Lord of Lard himself, Raymond Watts, joins KMFDM once more! His vocal style fits this song perfectly, and his growth as a singer and as a musician is obvious in this song compared to his previous work with KMFDM. Let’s hope that this isn’t only a one-time thing and that he’ll be working with the band more frequently from now on! “Megalo” makes for another throwback to older KMFDM, as this fresh new take on the classic “Megalomaniac” gives the song an updated electronic sound while staying familiar enough for older fans to recognise. I’d love to see them do this more often – I find it interesting to see what happens when a band revisits their older work, especially a band with such an impressive body of work and such an extensive history. The album ends on a smooth dub-inspired note with “No God”. While it’s a great song, it almost feels underwhelming after everything else we’ve heard before it.

All in all, this is a truly explosive release where every song has its reason to shine, and though they’re all distinctively different, they blend together so well! As a whole, the album is reminiscent of KMFDM’s 90s releases like XTORT. There’s a song for everyone, whether you’re new to the band or you’ve been around for decades. I highly recommend giving it a listen!

Paradise released this past Friday, September 27th, and is available on Bandcamp both as a digital download and in physical (CD and LP) formats. CDs and LPs can also be ordered from their official merch store; while CDs are currently shipping, LPs are expected to ship by mid-October.

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