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Sanctuary Visual Entertainment presents
KMFDM: WWIII Tour 2003 (2004)

"This is the most important aspect of the show: boots and cool latex costumes."
- Lucia Cifarelli

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: July 20, 2004

Stars: Sascha Konietzko, Raymond Watts, Lucia Cifarelli, Jules Hodgson, Steve White, Andy Selway
Director: Matt Prine

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language)
Run Time: 01h:37m:18s
Release Date: June 22, 2004
UPC: 060768838192
Genre: music

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- A-BB- B+

DVD Review

The industrial outfit KMFDM is allegedly an abbreviation for Kein Mehrheit Fur Die Mitleid (roughly No Pity For The Majority), though popular rumor in the mid-1980s was that it stood for Kill Mother F***ing Depeche Mode, which is so fitting considering their being quite literally the antithesis to radio friendly synth pop. The band has had a pretty storied history, starting out in Paris in 1984 as the brief artsy creation of Sascha Konietzko and German painter/multi-media performer Udo Sturm.

With an assortment of lineup changes early on, including the departure of Sturm, Konietzko has long remained as the band's center, and they made something of an underground splash in 1986 with the release of What Do You Know Deutschland?, their first of many discs for Chicago's legendary industrial label Wax Trax! Musically, the group evolved dramatically over the next few years, honing an angry wall of noise by employing dance, disco, house and techno beats, all driven by buzzsaw guitar chords and distorted, angry vocals, as they found a niche alongside such brilliant stalwarts as Ministry and My Life In The Thrill Kill Kult. The band, still anchored by Konietzko but featuring an revolving array of talent (including recurring Brit vocalist/guitarist Ray Watts), eventually relocated to Chicago, and then to Seattle, disbanded in 1999, returned briefly as an entity known as MDFMK, and then got back together formally—with their current lineup—once again as KMFDM in 2002.

This live concert disc from Sanctuary, recorded in 2003, finds a newly retooled KMFDM still built around Konietzko and Watts, with the added iconic strength of former Drill vocalist Lucia Cifarelli (the sole American in the band), along with Jules Hodgson (guitar/keyboards), Steve White (bass) and Andy Selway (drums). Trading lead vocal duties between Konietzko, Watts and Cifarelli, the band has again morphed a level in the evolutionary tree, but still deliver an industrial dose of driving electronic beats and eerily distorted vocals. They can still uncork pulse quickening material with the best of them, and their epilepsy-inducing light show elevates the whole experience a notch or two. The band itself is a cross-section visually, with vocalists Konietzko's blond mohawk and ever-present mirror shades, offset by Cifarelli's anatomically skin-tight latex outfit—looking more like a sexy video game character than a rock star—and Watts' silver lamé cowboy look, all giving KMFDM the kind of hodge-podge rock star look that can only come from the blending of such distinctly different personalities.

Those looking for a cross-section of older material will find this disc a bit light in back catalog stuff, as the bulk (9 to be exact) of the 13 tracks here come from their most recent disc WWIII, with 2 coming from 1993's Angst, and a couple from 1995's Nihil, including their biggest hit Juke Joint Jezebel. The new tunes are slightly more accessible than some of their earlier, darker material, and tracks like From Here On Out, sung by Lucia Cifarelli, have a distinctly more polished feel to them, and are not nearly as blistering sonically. There is, however, the familiar KMFDM undercurrent of hammer-to-the-head to the WWIII content, and enough Michael Moore compliant Bush bashing to serve as the basis for an imaginary secondary soundtrack to Fahrenheit 9/11.

Sanctuary has given viewers a couple of options with this disc, with the choice to either watch the performance straight through, or select a Play All option which includes brief snippets of backstage and road footage between tracks that shows KMFDM to be surprisingly down to earth and more fan-friendly than a lot of groups, especially considering their image as such angry, balls-out industrial scions.

Set List:

From Here on Out
Stars & Stripes
Pity for the Pious
Bullets, Bombs & Bigotry
Juke Joint Jezebel
A Drug Against War

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: For a concert, the 1.33:1 full-frame transfer looks pretty presentable most of the time, with just the usual fine grain caused occasionally by troublesome backlighting. The lighting itself is fairly minimal—plenty of bright strobes and the like—and the image detail in the darkness remains revealing and sharp throughout.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is provided in a fair 2.0 stereo mix, which is acceptable but really lacks the sonic depth and scope necessary to really give this disc the kind of proper assault needed to make drywall crack and glass shatter. Low end frequencies are surprisingly boomy, giving some substantive bottom end to the mix. Vocals, however, get slightly lost at higher volumes during the din of a given song, and there is a noticeable lack of separation between instruments.

Where the hell is the much needed 5.1 mix?

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 29 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 13 cues and remote access
1 Documentaries
8 Featurette(s)
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Press Kit
  2. Lyrics
  3. Photos
  4. Tour Journal
Extras Review: The Tour footage—available as an option during the concert playback—is available for viewing separately if you wish. The band seem like likeable goofs, smuggling a dog into a hotel room and basically looking largely out of place wherever they stop. The rapport with their fans seems pleasingly genuine, and it is a feel good to a see a band make that necessary connection to effortlessly and naturally. This is made all the more evident in the Horde (12m:37s) segment, in which KMFDM makes themselves completely accessible. There are also nearly thirty minutes of Interviews (27m:49s) from all members, as well as the road crew.

Under the Videos heading comes three KMFDM music videos: Stars & Stripes (04m:45s), Skurk (04m:37s) and Ultra (05m:57s). The content ranges from scathing Bush-bashing (Stars & Stripes) to video game parody (Skurk) to clever Lego imagery (Ultra). The Making of Western Concert Intro (05m:06s) is a behind the scenes look at the Deliverance/cowboy video intro that the band refers to as "quasi-Appalachian backporch whimsy". WWIII Sadistic Creations (01m:12s) is brief animated commercial for the CD WWIII, while KMFDM Studio (05m:17s) shows the recording process and the strange Whale Watching (05m:01s) follows them on a very un-KMFDM-like excursion to sneek a peek at whales.

Also included is an electronic press kit, lyrics, photos, excerpts from Lucia's tour journal (as well as those of Jeff the webmaster) and weblinks to a KMFDM store.

The disc is cut into 29 chapters if you opt to watch with the optional backstage footage, or 13 if you just go for the music.

Extras Grade: B+


Final Comments

Focusing mostly as a support tool for the WWIII CD, this tour disc from Sanctuary not only delivers a powerful 13-song set, but provides a ton of backstage and tour bus video footage. The live performances are both manic and tight, with the revitalized KFMDM appearing to be have discovered their groove thing once again after a few years of drifting about musically.

Welcome back, indeed.

The audio mix is a slight disappointment, but the fury and energy of this show make it highly recommended, none the less.


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