KMFDM are one of the most important acts in the industrial scene. With a career spanning 40 years, it becomes difficult to do something new. KMFDM’s 23rd record, Let Go, still manages to satisfy fans that have potentially been around for decades despite sounding fairly similar to all that has come before.
The first half of the record is full of high-energy ragers that will satisfy fans who are looking for the more metal side of KMFDM. The title track invokes Angst-era tracks, particularly ‘Light’ with its pounding drums but with more 90s dance music style synths.
Next ‘Move’ has more of an ominous feel with its cyborg vocal effects and synths that push the guitars to the background and they more or less stay there for the rest of the record, whether or not that works for you is a matter of taste. Sascha Konietzko has never had the widest vocal range but his ability to craft songs around that speaks to his skill as a songwriter and the ability to play to his strengths as a vocalist.
The majority of the album is built around synths and soundscapes so if you’re looking for a more metal-sounding KMFDM record then you may be best looking elsewhere. Tracks like ‘Touch’ have this 80s goth club vibe and that creates a welcome balance between the heavier drum and bass moments on tracks like ‘Erlkonig’ and ‘Totem E. Eggs’.
A personal highlight is ‘Airhead,’ a fairly authentic nostalgia song about the 90s which sonically invokes Hole through Lucia Cifarelli’s fantastic vocal delivery. The 90s are gratuitously represented in modern pop culture but ‘Airhead’ feels less like typical nostalgia and more like a list of quaint and simple things that may seem alien to a modern audience.
To directly contrast with the fun nostalgia of ‘Airhead,’ ‘WW 2023’ feels like a bizarre inclusion and makes reference to WWIII. It makes some dramatic deviations from the original like the ska riffing and slow-plodding nature. It’s strange hearing samples of George W Bush in 2023 but it feels more like a tone-building exercise and less like the auditory equivalent of doom scrolling through Twitter.
Overall, Let Go is a mixed bag but there’s still plenty to enjoy and there’s enough variety to keep you wondering what’s coming next. The lack of metal and guitar work may alienate some but KMFDM are about much more than metal. Simply put, KMFDM sucks [KMFDM fans will understand].
Let Go is available February 2nd 2024 via Metropolis Records.