KMFDM’s latest studio album and accompanying remix collection stand in stark contrast to the works gathered on their impressive greatest-hits album Wurst. It’s an amazing and disappointing fall from grace for the German noisemakers, even just from their 2008 album Tohuvabohu. On that release, KMFDM showed a healthy willingness to experiment with language and sonic style. Blitz (and Krieg alongside it) seeks to return the group to the heavy industrial pop they’ve helped define through three decades, but it all sounds like the lowest common denominator of aggro-dance.
The diptych of “Strut” and “Bitches” form a perfect example of everything wrong with Blitz: Most every beat, synth, and effect sounds too clean and contrived, and guitar riffs come across as wonky wanking. Vocal stylings, especially those of female lead Lucia Cifarelli, are insincere and misplaced. When she’s singing she has a weak R&B quality, and her yells and raps are irritating instead of bold. In short, Cifarelli’s a long way from even “Juke Joint Jezebel.” “Bitches” is this album’s theme song for the band—almost every KMFDM album has one—and Sascha Konietzko’s lyrics and delivery are particularly hostile toward fans, as if he forgot there was supposed to be a punchline or “gotcha” moment.
There are precious few moments where classic KMFDM shines through: The opening song, its symbolic title allegedly translating to “Up Uranus,” reintroduces their aggressive tongue to a sly cheek. “Take’m Out” is a sample-filled beepfest. “Potz Blitz!” and “Being Boiled” rock out by smothering any meaning in German and in strange lyrics referencing Buddha, respectively, and some of the faceless remix moments on Krieg wisely focus on punched-up BPM and various methods of distortion. Otherwise, Konietzko’s long-running industrial group parallels the aging computer in the corner office, where updates won’t prevent it from ultimately becoming just a technologically advanced doorstop.