KMFDM is easily the most recognizable international industrial band (that isn't Rammstein, at least). For over three decades, the Hamburg-based outfit has cranked out some of the finest electro-industrial music in the game, with twenty studio albums chock-full of material. Album number twenty-one came to us last month, and Paradise is a hell of an effort. From heavier, stomper songs like "Binge Boil & Blow" and the title track, to more straight dance tracks like "Automaton" and "Megalo," this blackjack offering is proof that thirty-five years in the game hasn't worn on Sascha, Lucia, and Co. one bit.
"K.M.F." is a fun opening track, with rapping by Andrew "Ocelot" Lindsley. It helps establish energy within the disc, while still leaving plenty to be desired. "No Regret" features some solid guitar work from new member Andee Blacksugar, helping him make his mark on this newest effort. "Oh My Goth" has a serious '90s industrial dance feel to it, and that is far from a complaint.
The title track is a powerful stand against injustice, with a to-the-point chorus proclaiming that "this planet is a paradise / a paradise for assholes." The album version runs eight minutes long, with a Blacksugar guitar solo and a dub section that was cut from the single version of the song. It's one of the stronger cuts from this disc for sure.
"WDYWB," shorthand for "Who Do You Wanna Be?" features Cheryl Wilson as a "diva voice," with the music itself being dancier and the vocal trade-offs between Sascha and Lucia mingling well with one another. "PIGGY" sounds like it could have surfaced at just about any time in the band's history, it is that KMFDM of a KMFDM song.
"Disturb the Peace" is another activism through music sort of track, again with a 90s industrial flavor to it. The line "fascism is in fashion again" is one that stuck with me, given the current state of global affairs. “Automaton” is one of the catchiest, hookiest songs on the record, and there is not a rule against electro-industrial tunes being catchy. “Binge Boil & Blow” busts the door down come the chorus, with a great use of the time-tested quiet verse, loud chorus dynamic.
“Megalo” is a remixed and updated version of the band’s classic “Megalomaniac,” and while I’m sure that many of the band’s faithful will prefer the old standard, I encourage anyone listening to this album to give this track an honest chance, as it did not disappoint, as much ass as the original incarnation kicks. To close out the disc, “No God” has a sort of reggae/dub beat with more industrial-flavored interludes, which feels weird at first, but it’s a nice marriage in the end.
Industrial music has had a hell of a year, dare I say, and Paradise deserves the praise it should get. It serves as a testament to the staying power of KMFDM, as a band, as a concept, as a godfather to the industrial genre at large.