Review Summary: It is surprising how a band can suddenly give the feeling that it has been repeating itself for ages just with one album.
Hau Ruck (2005) and Tohuvabohu (2007) have a particularity. They are the two only KMFDM albums that reunite the exact same members. Five people, two singers. It is really restricted for a KMFDM album. If it has a good consequence, it is the feeling of coherence it gives if you listen to the whole album. Also, however Hau Ruch and Tohuvabohu were made by the exact same members, they have their own sounds, their own atmospheres, their own flavour. The problem is that they both lack depth. Compared with older albums, the songs are more repetitive and recycle KMFDM tricks for our pleasure and often with talent but without adding anything. Hau Ruck felt simpler and more spontaneous than other KMFDM albums but it still contained several killer tracks and the average quality was good. It is not the same for Tohuvabohu.
The lack of real new element and of ambition weakens the songs strongly. At the first misstep the listener finds himself jumping to the next song because there is nothing worth waiting for.
“Spit or Swallow”, “Headcase”, “Los Ninos Del Parque” and “Not in My Name” have some nice beats to them, or lyrics, or melodies but they are just made unlistenable by clumsy choruses, repetitiveness and lack of really exciting things.
Then you have “Fait accompli” that is just dull. Everything in this song has already been done better by the band. So after having made the listener happy to listen to a new KMFDM song, it is forgotten. If surrounded by better songs maybe it would have been more appreciated.
Still in the songs that should have really needed to be better, you have “Superpower”. As an opener, and following the great “Free your hate” and “WWIII” from “Hau Ruck” and “WWIII”, “Superpower” needed to be a very good track. Unfortunately, however it isn’t bad it is sunk by samples of worshiping fans saying things that just have nothing to do on a song. Only if you can cope with things like “KMFDM takes everything I love about music, combines it and turns it into a supersonic kick in the ass !” or “KMFDM is quality” will you be able to enjoy it.
Eventually you have the good songs. “Looking for strange”, “Tohuvabohu”, “Saft und Kraft”, “I am what I am”, “Bumaye”. Blessed with some really good choruses, some refreshing unexpectedly original parts, good vocals, some terribly lively parts, astonishing speedy guitar riffs, german lyrics, nice moments calling for head banging or for a dancefloor, these songs sadly suffer from the same defects as the less interesting ones on the album.
The really bad aspect of Tohuvabohu is that it forgets to add something consistent to the usual recipe and gives the feeling that KMFDM has never been more than this.
So, if Tohuvabohu is really not a good addition to KMFDM’s discography if you are a fan that expect much from the band, it might be a good way to discover it. The numerous music style approached is impressive and could easily have been puzzling if there had been more contributors to the album as on Attack, Adios or Angst. But even with its weaknesses Tohuvabohu gives a good glimpse at what KMFDM is. For fans, the recipe is certainly and very sadly too obvious, but Tohuvabohu could allow newcomers to have a very nice experience discovering the album and attract them to more complex and more interesting albums of the band. If KMFDM ever made a complex album :)
It is important to say that some songs are saved (Headcase) or improved (Looking for strange) by their remixes on Brimborium.