Heavy-Duty Tunes

Prepare for KMFDM. With the triumph of Nine Inch Nails on last summer’s Lollapalooza Tour (yes, there will be a Lollapalooza II this summer), “industrial” is poised to move into mass acceptance. Much of it sounds like heavy-metal disco—the guitars snarl enough for metalheads who crave large doses of testosterone in their music, and the drum machines lay down a crunching beat for dancers of all sexual persuasions. Keeping with industrial tradition, KMFDM started out playing appliances (16 vacuum cleaners massively amplified through separate distortion devices) as performance art. Of limited commercial appeal, the vacuum cleaners were soon exchanged for electronics and KMFDM (the initials stand for “No Pity for the Majority” in German) began touring ever farther from their native Hamburg. Their latest album, Money (Wax Trax!, 312-252-1000), manages to induce enough trance for dance but with dynamic arrangements that avoid monotony. KMFDM take themselves seriously as artists: they hate the nation state, greed, material possessions, and apathy among their listeners. This gives them an unmistakable Old Testament feel. It’s easy to imagine lead singer Sasha Konietzko living alone in the desert, eating locusts and demanding that the tribe reform its ways. “We are bound by desire/Can you govern your soul?” he asks in “Vogue.”The hottest cut is probably “We Must Awaken,” a hacked-up fundamentalist sermon over a sampled guitar lick from “Voodoo Chile,” by Jimi Hendrix. KMFDM will be playing various European festivals in June with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Smashing Pumpkins. They should be in the States by late summer. —C.M.Y.