Review Summary: A very solid industrial album suffering from some repetitivity and simplistic guitar work but offering a lot of enjoyable noises, shouts, beats, growling and synths.2 of 2 thought this review was well written
When KMFDM released “Attack” in 2002, the band had stopped its activity for several years, since “Adios” in 1999. Sascha Konietzko, Lucia Cifarelli and Tim Sköld had released an album together under the name of MDFMK and decided to go back to KMFDM without En Esch and Gunter Schulz who were already absent from “Adios”, for the worst.
As a come back album, “Attack” had to redefine the band’s sound and approach. Even more, after a somewhat inconsistent album like “Adios”. MDFMK followers could also wonder what it meant to change the band’s name when all the members were to stay. The only important alteration in the band’s crew being the presence of Raymond Watts doing the vocals on three songs.
The album start is quite puzzling, after a 22s sample of “boots”, a song they had released some months ago, the track shifts to an electronic noise that takes the listener to a heavy introducing guitar riff (nicely accompanied with another electronic noise). But after two measures, the riff slows down and makes the sound of a melting cheese in a Tex Avery cartoon. The song won’t go back to it. There, it is hard not to wonder when the album is actually going to start. Sasha Konietzko kicks in with his raucous and deep voice on what seems to be a verse. Soon after Lucia joins him and then replace him for some… erm until the rest of the song. As an opener, and for a person who has never heard any KMFDM or MDFMK, “Attak/Reload” is quite puzzling. Personnaly, in 2002 I listened to New-metal a lot and was accustomed to really aggressive but very accessible openers. Attack/reload is meant to be an in-your-face track but according to KMFDM’s standards at the time and they were not Slipknot’s, Ill-nino’s or Spineshank’s which makes the song sound a bit feeble at the beginning. Still, it is a great song, Lucia’s voice changes all the time from seducing to aggressive and dominating. Electronic sounds and beats prevail but some harsh guitar riffs support the song for the chorus and some other moments.
It is not taking a risk to say that, after listening to this song, it is hard to imagine what’s going to come next. And that’s the feeling that will stay until the end of the album. The first four songs have different singers, respectively: Lucia Cifarelli, Tim Sköld, Raymond Watts, Sasha Konietzko. In all, Lucia sings on five tracks, Sasha on four, Raymond on three, Tim on four. When you have never heard any of them before, it takes time to get accustomed to an album which has eleven songs sung by the four of them.
Moreover, not only the number of different singers is puzzling, but the number of style tackled is too. Each song really has a strong identity on this album. The seducing and aggressive “Attack/Reload” stands as the only track of the album in which Lucia is truly aggressiv. “Superhero” is an awfully lot more poppy song and “Sleep” is noisy/industrial bits sticked to extremely quiet ones and it works well. On “Risen”, Sasha and Tim share spoken anthemic lyrics like orators would use to raise a crowd accompanied with guitars and a memorable electronic sample. “Sturm & Drang” could be paired with “Skurk”, as they both mix strong guitars, electronic sounds and Sköld vocals for an explosive alchemy. Same thing for “Dirty” and “Preach and Pervert” but with Watts. “Yohoho” sounds like an interlude or an industrial influenced elevator song. But it is quite agreable, it goes nowhere but never stops being good. “Save me” is a very emotionnaly driven industrial song with a wonderful main guitar riff. Sköld singing here is quite appropriate. And “Urban Monkey Warfare”, is mainly Sasha singing an industrial background before a catchy guitar riff comes and destroys everything on its path.
Sadly, all the riffs on the album are not that catchy or that memorable. Most of them are good and work perfectly but the simplicity of their arrangements prevents them from being the main attraction (which should be the electronic part anyway) and tend to make them a bit boring sometimes. Along with that, some songs suffer from repetition. “Dirty’s chorus is “Diiiiiiiiiirty” repeated endlessly, “Sturm & Drang’s chorus is “Sturm und drang” repeated four times. Sounds boring, yes, it is. Also, it takes time to be able to cope with the number of occurrences of the band’s name throughout the album. But, these defects tend to water down.
With all its variety, “Attack”’s strength lie in its coherence and general sound. Most songs are good (Superhero being the only skipable track) and the whole is better than each part listened on its own. There is no classic KMFDM track on this album, no Ultra, no Juke Joint Jezebel, no Tohuvabohu, no Drug Against War but the average quality is high. Even the weakest tracks are spared unlistenable moment and contain some original and enjoyable material. And that’s one of the very good side of “Attack”, although there is no perfect track, there are many memorable moments and riffs and sounds which will surprise you and which will make you slowly realize that you appreciate the album a lot more than you thought you did.
Urban Monkey Warfare: 4/5
Save Me: 4/5
Sturm und Drang: 3.5/5
Preach and Pervert: 3.5/5