Essential Albums of the 80s and 90s: KMFDM – Angst

Join me as I take you on a musical journey through time as I share the albums from the 80s, 90s, etc that are a must own or at least a must listen!

KMFDM – ANGST

Year of Release:  1993

Essential Tracks:

  • “Light”
  • “A Drug Against War”
  • “Sucks”

When I say the word “Industrial” when it comes to musical genres, what comes to mind? Groups like Nine Inch Nails, I’m sure. Maybe you even think of Stabbing Westward or, more recently, Korn and a whole crop of Nu Metal groups. All these answers are acceptable. There are even hundreds of other groups that I don’t even know.

Well, there is one group that always comes to mind for me. Straight out of Germany, it’s KMFDM! The band which started as a project of artistic expression and whose full name,<Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid, loosely translates as “no pity for the majority” originated in 1984 and released 18 albums and countless singles. All the albums are great but one stands out to me as an essential album you must own or at least listen to before you die.

Angst came out in 1993 and solidified the group as a mainstay in the metal scene at the time. They were featured in metal magazines and even had one of their songs, “A Drug Against War,” featured in Beavis and Butthead.

The album is completely mindblowing. It opens with “Light” and gets you pumped with a grindingly heavy guitar riff blending with some synthesizers that sound like the 80s and 90s are fighting each other with no clear winner. The refrain of the song will get you prepared for the album as a whole too with the line “KMFDM. Doin’ it again. A treat for the Freaks.” Yup. Get in and get pumped. The second track on the album, “A Drug Against War,” may very well be the best one and is easily the definitive track with fast paced, seizure-inducing guitars and drums, distorted vocals, sampled lines which distinctly sound like George Bush Sr saying “Bomb the living bejeepers out of those forces” and a random “Kill everything.” This is easily the most over-the-top speed metal track the band ever did and when people think of them or at the very least of this album, “A Drug Against War” is what comes to mind.

The angry and distorted lyrical style continues through the majority of the album mixing with guitar riffs that sound like they belong to classic rock greats before them like Black Sabbath (Listen to the guitars in “Blood”) and bands that came after like Rammstein mixed with 80s and 90s synth programming that could easily come from a Depeche Mode album (“Lust”). All in all, the mix of speed metal and synth is what makes the band fantastic and I feel it’s best expressed on this album.

Aside from “Light” and “A Drug Against War,” this album brought us the definitive moment in KMFDM’s history. The second to last song on the album is “Sucks.” Leave it to a band that started as a performance art project to produce a techno song discussing how much they suck. The lyrics are rapped over some of the cheesiest and most hollow sounding synth pop. “Our music is simple. Totally fake. It’s done by machines ’cause they don’t make mistakes.” There are references to hating all music “especially rap” which adds to the irony since the lyrics are rapped and a mention of hating Depeche Mode which has become a running joke as there was a rumor that the band’s name stood for “Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode.” (It doesn’t.) Why is this song so pivotal aside from being hilarious and dangerously catchy? Look at any band shirts from KMFDM in the 90s and look at any fan posts online about them. You’ll see this: “KMFDM SUCKS!” This is especially funny when non fans see it and think people are bashing the band (they aren’t)!

The band is one of my personal favorites and this album is my absolute favorite from them. I am happy to make this the first entry into my series of essential albums from the 80s and 90s. Even if you do not like them or this type of music, please do yourselves a favor and check this one out.

…And remember: “KMFDM SUCKS!”