By 1997, KMFDM had become a dependable, prolific source for tightly produced, mostly top-notch heavy industrial music. To their great credit, the band never betrayed its countercultural ideals, becoming an independent empire without making any concessions to the mainstream. However, some of the band's ideas were getting a bit repetitive after nine albums. This self-titled effort (also known as Symbols, like Led Zeppelin's fourth album) was released during the "next big thing" hype of electronica, and finds the band peeling away some of its heavy guitars in favor of a more dance-oriented sound (which is where the band really started, anyway). And the programming skills here, admirably, have kept up with the times; some of this stuff sounds like it could have been produced by Prodigy. Luckily, KMFDM freshens its sound a bit with each album by bringing new contributing musicians into their collective; Tim Skold and ex-Skinny Puppy Ogre (with his unmistakably spooky growl) "sing" on a few tracks, while veteran industrial drummer William Reiflin adds live drums here and there. In all, this is as good as many of KMFDM's '90s albums, and is a fine place for newcomers to start. The clean, detailed production is of top quality, and many of the tunes -- like "Megalomaniac" and "Anarchy" -- are exceptional. But for those who have been following the band, Symbols offers few surprises.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Hinds