The members of KMFDM may have put their name in reverse, but their sound is still in overdrive.

Whatever the reason Sascha Konietzko and Tim Skold flopped the letters in their group’s name to MDFMK — whether just for the sake of change, to distance themselves from the Columbine High killers (who were fans) or to put to rest the allegations of an unfortunate acronym involving Depeche Mode — they still build on a speaker-shredding foundation of noise.

Scaling back on the politics and adding vocalist Lucia Cifarelli, MDFMK picks up after 15 years of KMFDM with as much full-throttle aggression as ever, vacillating between the caustic fire of Nine Inch Nails and the winking bombast of Rob Zombie.

“MDFMK” is an obvious put-on much of the time, which is a decided turn-off, yet a primal sense of release pervades the album. Konietzko, the musicmeister, generates a distorted fireball of energy that erupts into a galloping assault on “Rabblerouser”; his clomping drive on “Torpedoes” evolves into a kind of anthem rock for 2000; and he brings “MDFMK” to a plowdriving conclusion with “Witchcraft.” All the while, Skold rants and screams with bristling rage. However, Cifarelli — used in moderation, though prominently featured in “Get Out of My Head” and “Hydro-Electric” — is pedestrian as smoldering singers go.
The proceedings are familiar in context of KMFDM and other hardcore techno acts, but song constructions are intriguing — tracks collapse on themselves (“Now”), grind out a dense, shuffling update of industrial music (“Stare at the Sun”) and pummel with bone-jarring bass (“Be Like Me”).

For spastic, noisy energy, “MDFMK” is more than serviceable. It’s also too self-consciously sinister.

Rating: 3 / 5

Chuck Campbell