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HELL YEAH
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Performer Notes
  • Audio Mixers: Benjamin Lawrenz; Chris Harms.
  • Photographer: Franz Schepers.
  • Over three decades after their debut, KMFDM released one of the most potent albums of their career with Hell Yeah. Tight and polished, the industrial outfit's 20th LP is a streamlined missile, unabashedly political and direct, much like 2003's WWIII. Aimed to slap listeners out of the malaise brought on by global politics in 2017, Hell Yeah is a remedy for anyone feeling helpless: turn this on and prepare to rage against the machine. On "Rip the System v2.0" -- a fleshed-out sequel to 1989's UAIOE track -- frontman Sascha Konietzko intones, "It absolutely makes no sense to do nothing but hope/For a turn of events," calling upon "black man, white man, [and] yellow man" to stand up and fight. That sentiment runs throughout the synth-heavy album, which throbs from start to finish. From the rallying cry of the title track to the propulsive anthem "Freak Flag," KMFDM deliver simple messages with clear intent. It's refreshing to hear, especially atop such straightforward, crowd-pleasing production. For old-school fans, the band deliver a handful of classic KMFDM ragers that pulse and pummel, the best of which include "Glam Glitz Guts & Gore" and "Total State Machine," a twin assault that features some of the most cutting lyrics on the album. When Konietzko steps back from the podium to allow his wife Lucia Cifarelli to take the reins, the results are thrilling. Hell Yeah may be the most effective canvas to date for her vocals. Whipping from seduction to ferocity in an instant, Cifarelli's performance on Hell Yeah falls somewhere alongside Shirley Manson, Toni Halliday, Cristina Scabbia, and even Alison Goldfrapp on the spectrum. Whether picking up the pieces of a broken heart on the stomp-bounce "Murder My Heart" or going all-in on the vicious "Rx 4 the Damned," she makes the best of her time at the fore, balancing Konietzko's menacing growl with her finesse and range. Ultimately, the pair -- and their team of accompanying musicians -- managed to create one of the catchiest and most satisfying efforts of their careers. Standing out from the rest of their post-Esch/Schulz 21st century material, Hell Yeah is a highlight in the KMFDM catalog. ~ Neil Z. Yeung
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