Review Summary: KMFDM releasing an album just because it's been two years since WTF?!
Although 2009 “Blitz” was far from being a bad album, KMFDM somewhat surprised with “WTF?!” Without changing their recipe, the band had managed to craft songs which felt truly inspired. Some heady melodies, nice heavy riffs, good choruses, some beautiful surprises and very few faults made the album unexpectedly solid. What it didn’t do was hint at a relevant change in the band’s approach. “WTF?!” might have been KMFDM at their best since their reformation, it still wasn’t anything groundbreaking for Sascha’s guys. What could then be feared from “Kunst” was an album which would just prove that the quality of “WTF?!” was some sort of accident.
Sadly, “Kunst” feels exactly like a counterweight to “WTF?!” Even if the album has its moments, the songs are often sunk by annoying details, flaws and lack of originality. The first track manages to be an agreeable listen but the lyrics being made of songs titles off the band’s repertoire, it can also easily make the listener cringe. Like “Ave Maria,” “Quake” and “Animal Out,” It is one of the better songs which unfortunately feel like the band has already written them before.
As often, the middle section of the album hides its weaker moments, except that this time, the quality of the songs which open the album isn’t that high either and that it drops sooner than usual. So, if “Kunst”, “Ave Maria” and “Quake” are still fun, the four following tracks are ruined by some horrible vocals (by Lucia Or Sasha), generic riffing, atrocious repetitivity (KMFDM is often repetitive but usually they repeat something that is not already disagreeable at first listen), languidity, and painful lack of inspiration.
“Kunst” would have been an entire trip in total averageness if it wasn’t for its last two tracks “The Mess You made” and “I heart not.” The intervention of J. Strauss on “The Mess You Made” is enough to make it a breeze of fresh air on the album (even if the song is artificially extended with a useless one minute intro), as for “I heart not” it is another “Sasha only” closer and as such it is mainly electronic but simply it works very well (a lot better than its remixed version on the Amnesia EP). Contrary to most of the songs on the album these last two convey the feeling that they have a reason to be, they do not feel like a forced rehash of the past and thus do not need to be outstanding to be very enjoyable.
Truly, “Kunst” is a sad album. The slightly heavier and darker atmosphere that the band had developed on “WTF?!” is still there (W.Wilson and J.Strauss featurings help a lot on that matter) but quality or inspiration isn’t anymore. It is a frustrating listen and it leaves the listener wishing that for once, the band had waited a bit more and trimmed "Kunst" of some of its weaker moments instead of releasing something disappointing.