Review Summary: Even if it has its shiny moments, it probably remains one of the most indecent albums of industrial history.
1988. Don't Blow Your Top is published, accompanied by a magnificent single, as well as the the first succesful single by KMFDM: Don't Blow Your Top. I can only imagine what might have thought a person who has bought the disc, after listening to the launched single.
The track that gives its name to the album is the first track of KMFDM to contain female choirs, element that will become their trademark. The thumping dance beat, accompanied by distorted guitars is, in all its eclecticism, the perfect union which is the industrial. The band's stamp on this track, tactically positioned as a second track on the album after the discreet No Meat / No man is indeed surprising: it is a breath of innovation since their album What Do You Know, Deutschland?, which immediately makes sense the fact that the German band still has a lot to say; the problem is not, in fact, if you do not have something to say, but how you choose to say it: the rest of the album is much like wandering in a dark watery foggy wasteland.
The biggest problem of Don't Blow Your Top is not the musical preparation of the band, nor creativity, nor the ability to dial: it's freedom. Very obviously KMFDM just wanted to have fun and they did it with Don't Blow Your Top. The fun experienced by Konietzko, Esch and Watts in composing the tracks on the album is so noticeable as to be almost palpable. The embarrassing Killing and even more embarrassing Killing For Your Sampling Kit are the proof: it is evident that the three were enjoying a world in creating a total of almost 14 monotonous minutes of Killing 1 and 2, otherwise it could not logically be explained the reason for such a slaughter. But let's go in order.
The album opens with the aforementioned No Meat / No Man, which is a track that could be the continuation of What Do You Know Deutschland?. In short still nothing wrong, even lyrics are kinda cute. Then we switch to the title track, which, as already said, raises the standard album, standing in all its glory, and laying the foundations for future KMFDM.
Then the problems begin. Killing is made up of more than five minutes of drum machines and percussion, with a distorted voice in the background that serves no other purpose than to automatically make the listener's ears to be shut down. As for rhythm it is pleasant, but it doesn't go beyond that.
It must be said that the following Disgust is not bad at all: it plays at least according to the oddity overdose generated by the album itself. It is linear, although it could, indeed should, be shorter. The rhythm is irresistible to dance and bass guitar proceeds unstoppable like a tank; the funk guitars are magnificent and the wind instruments sound extremely distorted and appear to come from a hallucinogenic delirium. A valuable work, in fact.
With the next Oh Look album becomes almost irretrievable. Two minutes and forty of drum machines, samples that sound almost like black humor, and a boring bass line that sometimes is playing in reverse, just to break the monotony. However we must say that in this album samplings are used in a masterly way, especially in this track and in the excellent What A Race.
Jumping King Kong Dub Rubber Mix, that with his two minutes of low-quality mainstream rock is completely negligible, we come to another track so this album couldn't be rated 1/5: What a Race. The drum machine hits and rattles unstoppable, while occasionally crossing guitars go through the track, then being cleanly cut off, providing a sense of reputable industrial; occasionally they are introduced in the background with an almost aphrodisiac funk style; percussion and the sound that seems to have been put in place of the bass guitar (so farsighted) shape dance rhythms that not even house / techno era's bands would dream: it is impossible not to be crossed by a thrill that accompanies the urge to dance. But the very strong point of this track is the perfect use of sampling. Just listen for yourself.
From now until the end of the album each track is horribly embarrassing. From the four and a half minutes without head or tail of No News; the six and a half minutes of what is perhaps the most boring album track, Tod Durch Bongo-Bongo, which with his slow and monotonous (completely inappropriate) dub may accompany the flow of heroin into the blood; eight minutes and forty of Killing For Your Sampling Kit, simply unacceptable; to Oh ***, that looks like a badly failed remix of Oh Look, with some vocal sampling, totally botched, from the title track. In short, a mess. It's a shame that, because of the rest of the album, tracks like the title track or What A Race are destined to rot in the pestilential slime that is Don't Blow Your Top.
Clearly KMFDM were then still defining their sound and Don't Blow Your Top is a bit their center of experimental and creative freedom, regardless of what the audience might like or not. Anyway it's amazing to see that such an album was officially released.