The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday February 4th

Angry Industrial Rockers Make a Hard-Core Attak



4 Stars

KMFDM's latest attempt, Attak, is the kind of music that you can only appreciate if you listen to it loud -- really loud.

But that is, after all, exactly what the band is going for.

Powerfully frantic, bristling with unrestrained energy and angry as hell, KMFDM pumps out raucous industrial dance beats.

The throbbing rhythms roar across 11 tracks in an unrelenting assault that makes you want to pump your fist and kick a cop square in the teeth. Harsh and guttural, the German band often ends up sounding more like a rebel army in a fit than musicians.

Since its energetic European and American reception in the late '80s, KMFDM has just gotten louder, angrier and more political -- and subsequently better. Scratching across their guitars, exploring every sound their synthesizer can crank out and tearing their vocal chords, the members follow the old adage that more is better.

And why not?

Every song is injected full of wicked grinds and trippy transitions, but the cuts that really shine are just bigger and bolder. The raging battle "Dirty" is stuffed with intense guitar riffs and thrashing drums while "Skurk" bangs at the back of your skull and scrapes up your spine.

The unholy and haunting hiss of "Urban Monkey Warfare" burns with crunching chords and has a hypnotic beat that you will be shouting -- yes, shouting -- for hours afterward. "Sturm & Drang" is an appropriately titled raging tempest that rushes headlong into bridges that showcase the real talent of the guitarist. And the synthesizers shine throughout the entire LP, but on the electronic journey through hell, "Attak/Reload," the band actually accomplishes a noise that sounds like a ringing cell phone being jammed into the blades of a high-speed fan -- something that everyone has dreamed about doing.

But KMFDM isn't a one dimensional cacophony of noises. Vocalists Sascha Konietzko and Tim Skold craftily blend their intelligent, politically charged and creepy lyrics into the raging instruments, even creating beats of their own.

Konietzko's seductive and wicked siren's call rings as she accuses, "If the mirror speaks the truth we must aspire and work/ Harder to be like you/ 'Cause anything goes when you're a star."

But the real star of the show is drummer William Rieflin. His rough and panicked pounding take the wheel, driving the quick dance beats and tricky bridges. Coupled with the simply wild synthesizers, his thumps and crashes define the LP.

A few boring tracks do mar Attak, however. The album functions just like a great hard-core song -- rushing in fast, easing off in the middle and then attacking for a fiery climax (yeah, just like that). It is at that low point, when KMFDM slacks off a bit, that disappointments like "Save Me" and "Yohoho" sneak onto an otherwise brutal conflagration.

When everything comes together just right, Attak sounds like a machine, pistons pumping. No wait -- more like a roaring factory ... on fire ... during a riot.

But that is, after all, exactly what the band is going for.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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