When: Thu., July 30, 8 p.m. 2015
KMFDM | THURSDAY, JULY 30
LINCOLN THEATRE, RALEIGH—KMFDM didn't invent industrial music or even break it, but if mostly by sheer perseverance, they've proven to be the form's most consistent and enduring artist. Opening for Ministry on their first American tour, they took that band's feral thrum and added an evermore indulgent throb, like a steroidal and aggressive Front 242. Leader Sascha Konietzko always lacked the artistic pretense of Skinny Puppy, more interested in expressing visions of dystopia than chasing the avant-garde. To outsiders, perhaps it seems counterintuitive for music that decries oppression to employ such an unrelenting pulse. But it's an extension of hardcore, which embodied the dehumanizing anomie and alienation of suburbia with a crush of noise.
The band formed in Germany during the mid-'80s and came to Chicago in 1991 after the release of their breakthrough, Naïve. They were swept up when Nirvana broke and enjoyed a prosperous run before breaking up in 1999 on the heels of the contract-satisfying Adios. The day of the album's release, the Trench Coat Mafia committed its Columbine shooting after posting lyrics from several KMFDM songs. The band's dark, bitterly ironic tone was perhaps lost on teens, but the theme of proletariat revolt certainly undergirds the lyrics. Their latest album, after all, is called Our Time Will Come.
When KMFDM reformed in 2002, they came without longtime collaborator En Esch. Raymond Watts left, too. But the four other core members have remained. Whether it was the time away or the lack of a competing artistic vision, the band's eight albums since have been of consistently high quality, as if the break allowed a recharge. While age hasn't softened the rhetoric, it has given it a more wry touch. That seems especially true of Our Time, whose songs are so on-the-nose it's like they've dispensed with foreplay altogether. "You've been trained to behave unquestioningly, to only speak when asked, not see the forest for the trees," Konietzko intones at the opening of "Brainwashed," like the anti-authority cipher of a trendy teen pulp. Just don't take it too seriously, kids. With Chant and Seven Factor. 8 p.m., $22–$25, 126 E. Cabarrus St., Raleigh, 919-821-4111, www.lincolntheatre.com. —Chris Parker