Released: 2004, Sanctuary
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
KMFDM is currently circling the country on their 20th anniversary tour, but last year’s WWIII album saw the band hit the road for an extensive tour. One date, October 27, 2003, was captured on tape for release on CD and DVD and here we have WWIII LIVE 2003 recorded live in Chicago. The band has had many lineup changes over the years but the one constant remains vocalist/programmer Sascha Konietzko. Much debate has been given towards the band’s name (which is a German acronym that stands for Kein Mitleid Für Die Mehrheit, or “No Pity For The Majority”) but one thing that cannot be debated is how tight the band is live. The majority of the set is taken from WWIII (all but 3 songs from that album are not played) and their best-known song, “A Drug Against War,” is included as well, but, curiously nothing from the 80s or prior to 1993’s ANGST album is here. In fact, besides ANGST, WWIII and 1995’s NIHIL, the rest of the KMFDM catalogue is totally ignored. Lucia Cifarelli was added to the band with 2002’s comeback album, ATTAK, and she is truly one of the highlights of the reformed KMFDM. Her songwriting and lyrics brought a fresh twist to the industrial clatter that was present on earlier releases and her voice is an excellent companion to Konietzko’s. (The skin-tight black and yellow latex catsuit she wears in the video isn’t exactly hard to look at either!) Just two years ago, the STURM UND DRANG tour was documented on CD and fortunately, WWIII LIVE 2003 doesn’t overlap any of the tracks, but since 2002, KMFDM have released two DVDs, two studio albums and two live albums so the market is getting a bit saturated with product.
As mentioned earlier, nine of the thirteen tracks included are from WWIII so fans of that release should lap this up. The politically-charged title track resonates with discord and as criticism toward the U.S. involvement in Iraq comes to a head, its lyrics are especially relevant. Cifarelli’s lead vocals on the pop-tinged “From Here On Out” are definitely a highlight and her presence resonates throughout “Stars and Stripes” and “Moron.” Despite coming from 1995’s NIHIL, “Juke Joint Jezebel” echoes the 80s with its heavy electronic beat and samples. The show closes with a punishing version of “A Drug Against War” from 1993’s ANGST. The thunderous drums and unmistakable riff remain intact and the crowd gets right into the chorus singing along with Konietzko’s gruff delivery.
As for extras, this is where the DVD clearly outpaces the CD. Besides the 62 minute show, over a half hour of tour footage is included showing the band’s bus getting searched at Disneyland for bombs, smuggling their dog into a Sheraton hotel, tour rehearsals and lots of fan meet and greet stuff. There is also the usual weblinks but in a separate section comes a pile of fan and tour photos, extensive tour journals (Cifarelli’s is especially interesting), lyrics to all the songs, videos, and the real draw, interviews with every member of the band and road crew!
In a clever marketing ploy, Sanctuary included “Ultra” with the CD and left it off the DVD release of WWIII LIVE 2003 so, gosh darn it, you just have to own both! The exact same show was used for both, but personally, I would recommend the DVD over the CD not only for the visual aspect, but also for the tremendous extras. This is a decent live release but its deluge of tracks from the band’s latest CD and complete omission of most of the band’s music may leave some fans wondering.