Album: Extra, Vol. 1
Label: Metropolis Records
Reviewer: Matthew J.
As interesting as this material is to devoted fans, more casual listeners can probably skip this exhaustive collection of B-sides, alternate mixes, and other rarities. For obsessive collectors, though, there are some real gems here. Covering the earliest part of the band's history (later volumes in this three-part series of double-CD collections will cover the band's more recent work), some of these tracks are fascinating just because they sound so unlike the KMFDM most of us are familiar with; "Sieg-Sieg" and "Piggybank (Shock Version)" are primitive EBM stomps, a far cry from the bombastic techno-backed metal the band would eventually create, and while the raspy drawled vocals of "More and Faster (High and Geil Mix)" or "Don't Blow Your Top (Adrian Sherwood Mix)" are familiar, the punchy horns are less so. Some of this material is fairly predictable, even for fans who aren't necessarily familiar with KMFDM's earliest work. Tracks like "Sex on the Flag" and "Money," presented here in several different versions, come pretty close to what most fans would categorize as the band's signature sound, and it's hardly a surprise that, when given the chance to remix "Naive," My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult would offer up an industrial disco version over ten minutes long (a shorter edited version is also collected here). Other tracks are more of a surprise; the "Jezebeelzebuttfunk Mix" of "Bargeld" is surprisingly exotic with its moody electronics and almost psychedelic guitar effects, and the so-called "Radio Mix" of "Money" seems decidedly unfriendly to radio, with its spoken-word narration and marching orchestral hits. Still, a lot of the alternate versions and club mixes on this album are starting to show their age, and aren't likely to garner much club play outside of retro nights, though it'll certainly be helpful for DJs to have them on CD for such occasions. With its attention to thoroughness, this collection (and presumably the forthcoming volumes as well) is unabashedly geared to diehard fans and obsessive collectors, but given KMFDM's devoted following, there's bound to be quite a market for this. If you're a relative newcomer to the world of industrial rock, however, it's probably a safer bet to stick with their studio albums.
Visit the official KMFDM website at www.kmfdm.com.
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