is the eighth studio album by industrial rock group KMFDM, released in 1995. Following 1993's Angst
, which saw the group moving into more industrial metal territory with a focus on distorted guitars rather than the EBM and synthpop influences of their earlier years, Nihil
is a further development and refinement of this sound. Arguably, it is also the peak album of their lengthy and prolific career, which has been rolling along since the early 1980's to present.
The best way to describe this album to me is a fusion of Skinny Puppy and John Bush era Anthrax. The focus on rhythmic guitars is brought to the fore, but still this album beats with an electronic heart with a strong, intricate production courtesy of frontman and the only consistent revolving member Sascha Konietzko. Still, although there are the gothic overtones associated with this brand of industrial metal (hence the Skinny Puppy namedrop) KMFDM's themes and feel are entirely their own, a distinct brand of tongue-in-cheek political satire which is bound to confuse and alienate certain listeners who don't understand or care for such messages.
Every track on here is a winner for me, still opener Ultra
rarely fails to do it for me upon hearing it. The intro with it's bass swells and percussion build up into one of the finest industrial metal songs of the early 90's, and gives me a kind of perverse thrill like no other. Juke Joint Jezebel
is that one song I use regularly to test my headphones, the swirling electronics at the beginning and it's kickdrums panning left and right all over my ears regularly melt my senses. When I think it couldn't get any better in comes Flesh
, it's danceable beats and infectious lyrics just making me jizz, over and over again. Then Beast
, and then Terror
, and you get the picture. Everytime I listen to a song on Nihil
I feel things can't get any better, but the next track manages to come in and completely blow my mind. I cannot will myself out of this cycle, but I will mention two lyrical highlights. Search & Destroy
is one of the most incendiary songs KMFDM has ever released, and I never fail to feel empowered after listening to it -
Will we close our eyes will we fall for those lies
Or will we make a conclusion that this life's a delusion"
Will we do what we're told 'til the day that we're sold
Or will we raise our voices make alternative choices"
And the radical anarchist themes of Terror
Some people call them terrorists
These boys have been simply misguided
I tried to keep my faith alive
I'm close enough to trip the wire
I cannot keep my hate inside
I'm gonna set myself on fire
Once I reasoned that Nihil
tapered off at the end somewhat, but I came to love the placement of every song here and really can't fault the last few tracks even if they feel slightly lesser to the others. To me this is KMFDM's finest release and is certainly one of my most played albums, which is a pity as it is followed up by the patchy XTORT
(which caused the group some controversy as Eric Harris, one of the perpetrators of the Columbine High School massacre posted lyrics from these on his personal website around the time all that was happening). Everything post Nihil
by KMFDM is incredibly hit or miss, but still, this remains one of the finest industrial metal albums of the 90's and a personal favourite of mine.