Attak, by KMFDM
Suggested by Stuart Emerson
A lot of my teenage midweek nights were spent at a nightclub called The Ritzy.
It wasn’t particulary Ritzy, mind. In fact it was exactly as you’re picturing it now, with loud patterned booth furniture, sticky carpets and an acrid smoke-machine afterhaze. It hosted an Alternative Night each Wednesday, and it was here I drank a lot of watered-down lager and danced along to Nine Inch Nails.
And lo, a deep fondness for Industrial rock was born.
KMFDM have been a staple of the Industrial Rock / Metal scene since 1984. They have an incredible TWENTY-TWO studio albums to their name. I’m both excited and ashamed whenever a band of such obvious history arrives before me, as it offers up an impressive back catalogue to explore while simultaneously mocking me for my obliviousness.
Attak has a host of excellent tracks that are surprisingly varied for an album with such a strident industrial edge. From the driving pound of Sturm & Drang, through the more reserved core of Save Me and the shanty-esque Yohoho, KMFDM are unafraid to play with the genre, much to their credit. Industrial music can feel a touch overwhelming, but this lightness of style and touch gives KMFDM a longevity of sound that apparently extends from this album into their career in general.
Another feather in their cap is the breadth and depth of their vocal talent. With no fewer than six band members lending their voice to proceedings, the songs remain fresh and interesting as they skip from bar to bar. Sometimes the voices are barking and powerful, sometimes they are whispered and menacing. Sometimes they are heavily treated by effects, and at others they are resounding and true.
In my brief sojourn to Wikipedia, I discovered there was quite some controversy at the time of the Columbine Shootings, with both killers professing admiration for the songs and supposed ideals of the band. The band were unanimous in their response, distancing themselves from such terrible acts, and such knee-jerk arguments, while understandable, hold little sway in civilised discourse. Even so, such a claim does at least indicate that the themes contained within their work mark KMFDM as an adult experience. As with everything, caveat emptor.
I give Attak a solid 7/10, and nominate Superhero as my standout track, but you’ll not go far wrong with any of the songs on this album.