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Rank & File – KMFDM

Ever sit back and look at your record collection of a favorite artist and consider which albums are the best? So do we! Rank & File is our way of telling you which albums are great and which ones are garbage (at least in our opinion). There are really no correct answers here, it’s all just a matter of taste, but inevitably, there will be parts of the list that you will completely disagree with, so make sure to let us know how you would rank the albums. Of course, when compiling a ranking system such as this, there have to be some guidelines in place. For Rank & File, they are:

  • No E.P.’s (with rare exception)
  • No Singles
  • No live albums
  • No remix albums
  • If an artists discography is huge (i.e. Rolling Stones, Prince) only the top 5 will make the cut.



In honor of KMFDM’s upcoming 18th (!!!) studio album Kunst, which comes out this coming Tuesday (February 26th), I’ve decided to do a Rank & File column for them. However, this one will be a bit different from the ones that have preceded it (NIN, Radiohead, Filter.) Like I said above, the new record is KMFDM’s 18th studio album! I honestly don’t think that I could write about all 18 of their records and do it any justice. There is just too much material to cover. You would get bored reading and I would get bored writing it about halfway through! So with that being said, check out my 5 favorite KMFDM records! If you’re new to KMFDM, check out some of my favorite songs from each album. Who knows, you might just find a new favorite band. If your familiar with KMFDM, revisit some favorites and reply with a list of your favorite albums! Make sure to pick up their new album Kunst when it comes out February 26th!


5. Xtort (1996):

Coming on the heels of the wildly successful Nihl, Xtort was purposefully made to be less accessible (as if KMFDM could really be considered accessible.) Raymond Watts was not featured on this record, which bummed me out. KMFDM did bring Chris Connelly into the fold though, which was great. I always wished he would do more with them. Probably the biggest reason Xtort isn’t higher on my list is because it sounds so shitty in comparison with the other albums. I’m sure that was an “artistic” decision, but it just distracts me from getting down.

Album Highlights:


4. WWIII (2003):

This release saw KMFDM again turn up the heavy quotient in their music. The title track of the record is relentless! Lyrically, the album is inspired largely by the Bush administration. In 2003, that made the record sound relevant and dangerous, but 10 years later, it sounds fairly dated (at least lyrically.) Funny how an album with such a strong social commentary can sound tame later on, in spite of nothing really changing.

Album Highlights:


3. Attak (2002):

When KMFDM split with longtime members En Esch and Gunther Schultz in 1999, I didn’t think I would see a “proper” KMFDM album again. Surprisingly, the hiatus lasted only a couple of years and the band returned with Attak. Aided by contributions from Skold and Raymond Watts, along with the addition of female vocalist Lucia Ciferelli, Attak was a true return to form album for the band. (side note: I saw the band play on this tour and after the show, got absolutely destroyed with Sascha and Raymond. Probably one of the cooler moments of any concert I’ve been to.)

Album Highlights:


2. Nihil (1995):

Unlike Symbols, Nihil represents the heavier side of KMFDM. The album is 10 tracks of relentless “Ultra Heavy Beat.” When I listen back to this record, I really enjoy the inclusion of Raymond Watts on a good chunk of the songs. He really brings a presence to the songs that just can’t be replicated. Since Raymond left the band (or got kicked out?), I’ve seen them perform some of these songs without him, and the result is…..strange to say the least.

Album Highlights:


1. Symbols (1997):

Whenever someone asks me for recommendations about industrial music, Symbols is usually one of (if not the first) album I suggest. This is the definitive KMFDM record! There are so many different elements that make it a classic. Symbols represents every aspect of the KMFDM sound from heavy riffing guitars, dance floor friendly synths and sardonic lyrical wit. On top of that, the album features a guest list that reads like a who’s who of industrial music. Contributions from Ohgr (Skinny Puppy), Tim Skold, Raymond Watts (Pig) and Bill Rieflin (everything under the goddamn sun) makes Symbols feel like the last truly collaborative KMFDM effort.

Album Highlights:


Just Missed The Cut: Opium (1984), What Do You Know Deutschland? (1986), Don’t Blow Your Top (1988), UAIOE (1989), Naive (1990), Money (1992), Angst (1993), Adios (1999), MDFMK (2000), Hau Ruck (2005), Tohuvabohu (2007), Blitz (2009), WTF?! (2011)

What do you think? How would you rate the KMFDM albums? Let us know in the comment section below and make sure to follow Gutter Bubbles on Facebook and Twitter!

Twitter: @Gutter_Bubbles

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About the author:
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I am absolutely and unabashedly in love with music. If I could eat a huge bowl of songs for breakfast every morning, I totally would. I'm obsessive about categorization (don't mess with my chronological or alphabetical) and can't stand an unorganized iTunes library. Outside of music and writing, I love baseball (go Rockies), coffee, corgi's and going on fun trips with my girlfriend!


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