Review Summary: A relevant remix album which gives the feeling that the original album is lucky.
Ruck Zuck, Brimborium, Extra Vol.1, 2 and 3 and now Krieg. Since 2006 KMFDM has released (or re-released) an impressive amount of remixes. Many of them were merely jokes whereas some others really gave the songs a second life. Lust (Chem-lust mix), Bargeld (Cashflow-mix) or Anarchy (Fusako-mix) from the “Extras” are examples of good early remixes showing that there was always a desire from the band to transform some of their songs without reducing their quality. Most of the time you could find those remixes with the original version on promotional EPs. But since “Ruck Zuck”, the band’s approach has become more serious and far more delectable. Without any “hit” from the album to support them, the remixes have become the main attraction which means they have to be more than a funny experiment made on a song we like. They have to be a good listen on their own and an experience different enough from the original track to justify the album.
From this point of view “Krieg” perfectly wins its bet. It is a real pleasure to hear all those different versions of “Never say never”, “people of the lie”, or “Bait and Switch” without being able to stick to a favorite one. If the “Naughty habit mix” of “Never say never” is a bit weaker than the others, its focus on a heavy guitar riffing gives it a very particular flavor which will make you go back to it from time to time. Repetition is always a problem with KMFDM and the original version of “Never say never” was a bit dragged down by its insistent chorus. Strangely, on the “candy apple mix” of the song, it becomes totally bearable. Maybe because the repetition of a very melodic and sugary chorus can only drag down an industrial song whereas it sounds perfectly appropriate in a naïve and poppy one. As for the “Confessional mix”, the chorus can be heard only two times over its 5m56s of hard electronic beats. The progression of these beats and electro sounds is really delectable on the 1m40s long introduction. You will move on this “Bad Girl !”
“Bait & Switch” receives an even better treatment than “Never say never”, its two remixes take completely opposite directions. Or maybe not, both are quite aggressive. The remixers give a clue: Combichrist and Prong. Aggrotech and Metal. Both remixes are great and won’t give you a feeling of repetition even if you listen to them back to back. It has to be said that it is quite agreeable to hear a song being taken care of this way.
Personally, I’m not a fan of “Blitz”, I can even say that, although all the songs were good, the album gave me the horrible feeling that the band had nothing left to give. But whatever one can think of “Blitz”, “Krieg” offers an honest and serious chance to hear the songs differently.
“Strut” was already one of the best songs of “Blitz” however it might not be the kind of song we expect from KMFDM. More than anything, the band sounded ambitious on that one. It was given a chance to shine. Its “Disco Balls remix” is a pure gift (If you liked the original of course). It wears its disco sound perfectly, like a costume for a party, it is lively and enthusiastic and will make you want to move your body and smoke weed and have sex. So cliché. Sorry.
Going back to “Krieg”. Strangely, following “strut” is the “Harmonic tremors mix” of “Potz Blitz !” which won’t make you want to move your body or smoke some weed or cook some bacon because it is quite ominous. There is nothing wrong with the remix, the new sound of the song is very good and it has a creepy atmosphere. The only problem is that the original material was a bit boring. If you liked “Potz Blitz!” its remix is a good one. Not like the one of “Bitches” which sounds like an “under acid mix”. The instrumental part isn’t bad, just not very exciting, but the vocals are totally distorted and sound as if Sasha and Lucia were about to be sick. If there is a joke mix on this album, it is that one.
Drowned in all the aggressive material of the album, along with “strut” (disco balls mix) and “Never say never” (Candy Apple mix) stands “People of the lie” (Requiem mix), a very quiet version of the song. Accompanied with a piano and some electro samples aiming at emphasizing the emotion it is too bad that the only words that Lucia has to say should be that violent and disrespectful: “Whatever you believe nobody cares, whatever it is you think you Know, don't give a god damn, reality is bull***, reflection is a concept based on your own ***ed up ideal”. Still, the remix is enjoyable. The “Crooked Illusion Mix” is as interesting but gives a different feeling to the song. Unfortunately, both of them suffer from the same problem as the original song: a boring-to-death structure. Again, if you liked “People of the lie” the work on the song is worth a listen, you might enjoy the new versions more.
If the two remixes of “People of the lie” do not correct anything that was wrong with the original version, “Davai” (Cyrillic mix) and “Davai” (Bloody fog mix) do. Both versions are better than the one from “Blitz”, the “Cyrillic mix” is not that far from the original but at least remove the riff that was so clumsily used. “Davai” (Bloody fog mix) is a true enhancement of the song, with much more electronic sounds, a wonderful rhythm section, nice synths accompanying the chorus which prevent it from sounding hollow and even a nice 50s long instrumental part. This is certainly the song which benefits the most of its remixes.
Although it would have been agreeable to listen to remixes of the opening track and of “Me & My Gun”, on the whole, Krieg is really a success. Far from being a carcinogenic growth from a fashionable band exploited by a greedy production company, “Krieg” is the work of a band who likes what they are doing and want more. The original material wasn’t transcendent, it is logical that, limited as they were (Sasha Konietzko doesn’t want the vocals structure to be altered, so some flaws cannot be erased), the remixers couldn’t make gems out of coal. But still, listening to “Krieg” is a very enjoyable experience and a pure “remix album” experience: the work is done well enough to make the jump from the original version to the remix bring something fresh and cheerful. It is easy to feel that this band is not only in it for the money… oh wait ! But they are.