Skold vs KMFDM
Skold vs KMFDM


4.0
excellent


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: All there for better as is it is for worse.

Guns, power, aggression, decay, festering, mutilation, crime…

Don’t mind me. I was just doing that thing cyberpunk media does where it throws in a bunch of scary and hard sounding words to sprinkle flavor, season the setting. Doesn’t that set the mood? Well, let me set the scene some more…

The year is 2009. It’s the tenth anniversary of Y2K and the new millennium. The Electronic Revolution has more or less occurred, and it’s… Kind of boring, isn’t it? In the 80’s and 90’s we were thinking THAT could look like just about anything. It was certainly a lot more exciting -- and more importantly more palpable. Our attempts at rebellion would once look like grand revolts against THE POWER but something in the air has pacified America to believe that late stage capitalism in the West is either “just the way it is” or something that we would somehow benefit from even more of.

It isn’t any wonder so many EBM acts flirted so much with fascist and militarized aesthetics and it isn’t any wonder some listeners took the reappropriation and subversion as ringing endorsement. These same people will listen to music like KFMDM or Front Line Assembly refusing to believe the status quo is dystopic, taking musical stories of rebellion as a game people play, loving the sympathy they extended to them because it allows feasible separation from real-life counterculture rebels. Queer and marginalized people have always led the way for real-life revolution and KMFDM and industrial is a sound that fits that glove a lot more than many people realize.

- - -

Onto the album itself: it’s pretty good! Is that any surprise? Well, sort of. If there’s one thing KMFDM is known for, it’s doing the same thing over and over again but from slightly different angles. Skold did the one thing for Sascha K that he needed most -- provided a fresh set of tools on which to make his blood-seeped sculpture. It seems for the first time in many, many years KMFDM was sounding truly fresh. The fact Sascha has been in this biz since the early 80’s means he has become adept at delivering his message in ways he knows are powerful, utilizing these old techniques with the new sound to great effect.

'Why Me' is a perfect opener that establishes the dystopian megacorp vibe out of the gate - it, like the rest of the album, does not beat around the bush. The chorus is simple but succinct:

WHY ME?
WHY NOT!


I love this track because it does what all great industrial music does - it motivates you to accept your oppressive surroundings rather than rejecting them - telling you to make an active change in your world for the good of others as well as yourself. At the same time, though… Feel free to indulge in any of the degeneracy and subversions said environment instilled in you -- because not only is doing so logical, but it’s beautiful in its own right.

'Bloodsport' is the easy highlight of the album and I would argue is the basis point on which all its strengths stand. Featuring a powerful, thumping beat, an incredibly evocative synth melody for a chorus, and Sascha’s vocals that bellow and and beckon for the listener to fight like an otherworldly sports announcer. This is truly the main event - it’s time to throw your hands up or die trying. But at no point does the song seem defeatist or pessimistic - in its moments of quiet it opts for flashes of clarity and melancholy.

The undertones of grief and introspection on this record are surprising given the genre’s pre-contemporary trope of “pay no mind and press on.” because 'Bloodsport' is a track that is just as much about mightily pressing on as it is about stopping to examine the chaos you’ve wrought. As the album reaches its highest highs it uses this time to explore a nuanced angle on the message of “power in the face of oppression” that KMFDM has preached about for decades. An exclusion of 'Bloodsport' on this record is one that’s hard to imagine -- its presence ties everything together and makes the package not only feel cohesive, but exhaustive.

The rest of the album succeeds in less notable and more straightforward ways -- 'Love is Like' is a fun hardsynth romp, 'It’s Not What' is an abstract collection of metallic noises arranged in a pretty peculiar fashion for an album that one would otherwise approach for club hits. The album settles into a bit of a steady groove in its middle, failing to hit the highs of its start or ones it would soon hit near its finish and instead serving as an effective industrial setpiece that takes its roots and contextualizes them for a more modern age.

Skold VS KMFDM wraps up quite well on its final moments, flirting with hedonism in fabulous ways and fleshing out its vision. 'Porn, Kitsch, and Firearms' is as good a portrait as of its title as it gets and leads into 'Gromky' (Russian word for "loud") whose sound and lyrics perfectly capture how plain fun industrial music can be:

I think we might be having a little, too much fun
If it feels so ***ing good, then it must be wrong


'All or Nothing' is a wonderful closer, with a slow swelling atmosphere that stays steady, steady, like you’re on your own two feet for the first time. You are not what breaks you - you are stronger and working to become even stronger. One day, you’ll take the world by storm. Skold VS KMFDM, even at its lowest points, maintains a tangible and highly-distilled antifascist theme that has been carefully honed over the course of decades. Tim Sköld, in almost all cases, is able to heighten KMFDM’s highs and mask their lows.

What did I say before - that this album doesn’t beat around the bush? Well, it doesn’t. It BEATS THE BUSH -- quite a lot, too. To a bloody pulp.


user ratings (14)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
cordwainerbird
March 3rd 2021


748 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i wrote more than i thought, hooh



im so glad im doing this shit again

Digging: The Smiths - Hatful of Hollow

cordwainerbird
March 3rd 2021


748 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

can u not edit reviews i forgot an apostrophe FUCK

my formatting in general is a little fucked, putting song titles and lyrics and shit in italics and such is always the worst part of doing reviews for me because once i have to start thinking too much about proper format the words stop coming out

nolerthebowler
March 3rd 2021


8474 Comments


you have to go to your profile, on the left hand side there's an option to edit reviews. Its a bit roundabout.

cordwainerbird
March 3rd 2021


748 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ahh that is extremely helpful, thank you! ill comb through this and fix all the really minor formatting stuff later tonight then. that actually eases a ton of anxiety i had on posting reviews - i appreciate it



dont mind coming back later because it rly is all minor stuff. EDIT: NVM DONE akdjhb

parksungjoon
March 3rd 2021


28959 Comments


>something in the air has pacified America to believe that late stage capitalism in the West is either “just the way it is” or something that we would somehow benefit from even more of.

not really a 2000s thing, it goes back to reagan at the very least and definitely has roots going deeper than that

didnt think you were american tbh

>It isn’t any wonder so many EBM flirted so much with fascist and militarized aesthetics

missing a word? so many EBM acts? so many EBM albums?

good stuff tho pos'd

cordwainerbird
March 3rd 2021


748 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

>not really a 2000s thing, it goes back to reagan at the very least and definitely has roots going deeper than that



seems ppl are rly disillusioned now, at least thats the sentiment i get in my circle of early 20s queer friends. plus w trump the country steered harder right than it was in a long time and the democrats have went harder on neolib ideals - that's mostly what im referring to



>didnt think you were american tbh



im not that much of an american. i dont consider myself one - ive always felt like an outsider looking in. i was born here but russian was my first language and most of my cultural knowledge is through a russian-jewish context.



>missing a word? so many EBM acts? so many EBM albums?



yup was missing the word acts! thank you!

parksungjoon
March 3rd 2021


28959 Comments


>seems ppl are rly disillusioned now, at least thats the sentiment i get in my circle of early 20s queer friends. plus w trump the country steered harder right than it was in a long time and the democrats have went harder on neolib ideals - that's mostly what im referring to

maybe i misunderstood what you were saying in that paragraph of the review? because it seemed to me like you were trying to contrast a hope for revolution brewing in the 80s and 90s with it eventually being pacified and subdued a decade later. and thats what i wanted to disagree with, the pacification had already been way underway, and yea things are finally seeing some shift in the other direction

cordwainerbird
March 3rd 2021


748 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is a great point and something that i think gives that paragraph some much needed perspective - i think IM the disillusioned one and i feel like the momentum that's swinging right now needs to swing harder. i think we both agree it's been building since the 80s/90s



i will touch up that paragraph a bit to reflect this - good and valued thoughts, thank u < 3

parksungjoon
March 3rd 2021


28959 Comments


its a heavy and complex topic that i think you manage not to lean into any harder than the review warrants

cordwainerbird
March 3rd 2021


748 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

for sure. looking forward to exploring it more in later reviews

parksungjoon
March 3rd 2021


28959 Comments


the more i think about it im not sure its possible to do the topic justice without framing it in a context at least as old as the cold war if not further back

cordwainerbird
March 3rd 2021


748 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea



speaking of the cold war that will be a fun thing to contextualize in terms of sound whenever I review Oppenheimer Analysis's New Mexico, which flirts with those aesthetics in a really quirky and off-kilter way. unmistakably very Bowie inspired but a lot more stripped down and uh, very cold sounding. I wonder if that record would be to ur taste. but i digress

parksungjoon
March 3rd 2021


28959 Comments


i dont really have taste, otherwise looking forward to it :]

parksungjoon
March 4th 2021


28959 Comments


no one on this site likes kmfdm huh

cordwainerbird
March 5th 2021


748 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I GUESS SO djhgbv

cordwainerbird
March 5th 2021


748 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

im surprised. classic industrial sound really is phasing out, the genre has evolved into acts like Machine Girl and hasn't really revisited much of the conceptual stuff from its roots. this is peculiar because i think it's very relevant now (i did say this exact same thing like a dozen times already)



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