I always liked the idea that KMFDM stood for Kill Motherfucking Depeche Mode, and I seem to recall another version of the acronym positing a disgusting but faintly amusing allegation about Kylie Minogue; and of course that bloke from Brute! drew all their record covers; and there was the involvement of Raymond Watts who is credited with something or other on an early-ish Foetus album. I knew I'd probably heard something by KMFDM at some point, and they always seemed to turn up in the same places as a few other groups I've liked, and Retro is a best of compilation, so...
Kill Motherfucking Depeche Mode would probably be funnier if KMFDM were better, but they aren't. Let's think about that just for a moment - the band which isn't as good as Depeche Mode. Actually, I'm not even sure they were as good as I Should Be So Lucky era Kylie Minogue.
What we have here is grunting Belgian new beat with sampled metal guitars and the sort of growling effects heavy vocals you only get from really mean men who drink lots of beer and have massive penises and who get lots of nude women to kiss them and show them their boobs and that, the sort of mean men you wouldn't want to mess with; or I gather that's the intended impression. Unfortunately it all sounds like something knocked up for the demonstration CD you'd get when making purchase of an Akai S5000 sampler back in the year 1992, or whenever it was those things came out. It strives to pound and grunt and make you sweat - work pain obey blah blah blah kerrraaannnggg grunt work pain struggle thud thud thud... but the thing sounds so clean you could probably eat your dinner off it; and even if you enjoy the guitars, there's no earthly reason why you would listen to a KMFDM record in preference to the Young Gods or AC/DC or - fuck it - that Depeche Mode song which has a guitar on it. There's no reason why you would listen to this in preference to Front 242 or any of those acts who did this kind of thing properly. I'm not sure you would even listen to this in preference to fucking Ministry or - God help us - Pop Will Eat Itself.
Just to summarise, we're discussing a band who weren't as good as Depeche Mode, Ministry, Pop Will Eat Itself, or I Should Be So Lucky era Kylie Minogue. Let's just pause for another second so that we may properly acclimate to the concept.
I mention Pop Will Eat Itself because KMFDM were similarly inclined to refer to themselves in song - this is KMFDM you're listening to, KMFDM in the area, and so on. All that's missing is the sample of that guy suggesting we put the needle on the record when the drum beats go like this, or whatever it was he said.
This being their best of, I dread to think what the really shit stuff was like. I seem to recall KMFDM's name coming up as one of a number of potential scapegoats in the case of teenagers with guns going nuts at Columbine High School all those years ago. Whilst I personally suspect there's a great deal more to such tragedies than angry sentiments expressed on a noisy record album, it has to be said that this one really is unusually shitty.