Symbols (album)

Studio album by KMFDM
Released September 23, 1997[1][2]
Genre Industrial rock, electro-industrial
Length 56:34
Label Wax Trax!/TVT, Metropolis
Producer KMFDM, Chris Shepard
KMFDM chronology
Singles from Symbols
  1. "Megalomaniac"
    Released: 1997
  2. "Anarchy"
    Released: 1997

The tenth album by German industrial group KMFDM is titled with a string of five unpronounceable, non-alphabetic symbols (see cover art), but usually cataloged as Symbols.[1][3] It was released on September 23, 1997, on Wax Trax!/TVT Records. A digitally remastered reissue of Symbols was released in 2007 on Metropolis Records.


Recorded in Seattle, Washington, Symbols marked the introduction of Tim Skold. While his contribution to this album was as a guest, he would become a full-fledged member for Adios and Attak. Sascha Konietzko, the frontman of KMFDM, said the title had no special meaning, and was just an idea for a title the group had very early on, before a single album had been released.[4] En Esch said the idea for the album title came from the symbols used for curses in comic books.[5] The symbols appear in the printed lyrics of "Down and Out"; the corresponding point in the song is covered with a censor-like beep in the song, and is replaced with "(SYMBOLS)" on the official KMFDM lyrics archive.[6]


Symbols was released on September 23, 1997.[1] "Megalomaniac", "Anarchy", and "Leid und Elend" were included on the soundtrack of the video game Test Drive 5. "Megalomaniac" was also featured in the film Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, and was the first single from its soundtrack.[7] "Anarchy" appeared on the European version of the soundtrack to the 1998 film Lost in Space.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Chicago Sun-Timespositive[8]

Andy Hinds of Allmusic gave a mixed review, calling some of the band's ideas repetitive while praising the programming.[1] He also commented that the band keeps its sound fresh by bringing in new contributing artists for each new album, and noted the presence of Tim Skold and Nivek Ogre. He called the production top quality and the album "a fine place for newcomers to start," but said that Symbols offers people that have been following the band few surprises.[1] Kevin Williams of the Chicago Sun-Times called "Megalomaniac" an "incredible, irresistible opener" and said the album "could result in a KMFDM takeover of electronica."[8]

Legacy and influence

"Stray Bullet" received significant media attention after the Columbine High School Massacre because the song's lyrics were posted on the website of Eric Harris.[9] The song was also in the background of one of the videos posted by Pekka-Eric Auvinen on YouTube prior to the Jokela school shooting.[9]

Track listing

1."Megalomaniac"  En Esch, Sascha Konietzko, Günter Schulz6:07
2."Stray Bullet"  Esch, Konietzko, Schulz5:32
3."Leid und Elend" ("Sorrow and Misery")Esch, Konietzko, Schulz6:10
4."Mercy"  Esch, Konietzko, Schulz5:00
5."Torture"  Nivek Ogre, Konietzko7:04
6."Spit Sperm"  Raymond Watts, Esch, Konietzko, Schulz4:46
7."Anarchy"  Tim Skold, Esch, Konietzko, Schulz, Bill Rieflin5:35
8."Down and Out"  Esch, Konietzko, Abby Travis, Schulz6:40
9."Unfit"  Watts, Esch, Konietzko, Schulz6:01
10."Waste"  Konietzko, Travis, Esch, Rieflin, Schulz3:39
Total length:56:34



  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Hinds, Andy. "Symbols Review". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 12, 2010.
  2. "KMFDM History on April 4, 1997 from". KMFDM Inc. Archived from the original on April 8, 1997. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  3. "Discography - Symbols". KMFDM Inc. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  4. Rule, Greg (1999). "KMFDM". Electro Shock!: Groundbreakers of Synth Music. Hal Leonard Corporation. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  5. Iwasaki, Scott (December 5, 1997). "Punk, wave, even Zappa helped shape KMFDM". Deseret News. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  6. "Lyrics: Down & Out". KMFDM Inc. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
  7. Bendersky, Ari (October 15, 1997). "Mortal Kombat Getting Ready To Annihilate America". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  8. 1 2 Williams, Kevin (November 9, 1997). "KMFDM pours on industrial-strength rock". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 13.
  9. 1 2 Torma, Sami (November 7, 2007). "Nine die in Finland after YouTube post". Reuters. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
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