It has been 10 long years since the band's last album "Liebe ist für alle da" and finally we get the new, self titled album, released via Spinefarm Records.
This is their 7th studio album, and this time around, they worked with "Olsen Involtini" who handles production duties. They worked with him previously as he did the string arrangements on "Mutter' and "Reise, Reise", remixed some of their singles, has done FOH mixes for the band, when playing live, and also plays in Richard Kruspe's side project "Emigrate"
Till Lindemann - Vocals
Richard Kruspe - Guitar
Paul H. Landers - Guitar
Oliver "Ollie" Riedel - Bass
Christoph "Doom" Schneider - Drums
Christian "Flake" Lorenz - Keyboards
In an interview with Kerrang! magazine, Richard Kruspe, had this to say about the writing process for the album. “We experimented a lot with certain kinds of harmony through the verses and a lot of melodic structures in the songs, I feel like we came up with great stuff that I wouldn’t have dreamed before could be Rammstein.”
The video for this was released a month or so ago and, in true Rammstein fashion, it drummed up quite a bit of controversy.
Tracing the history of Germany with references to "Arminius" and "the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest", the personification of Germania herself, the Weimar republic, the Hindenburg disaster, the Baader-Meinhof group and the Holocaust (all connected by the "Roter Faden", the red thread that connects each event)
You have to hand it to Rammstein, they don't do things by halves.
I've already done a video about this song, so by all means check that out, but suffice to say that this is classic Rammstein and a great way to start the album.
This was the 2nd single to be released (along with another great video) and this one explores the band's love for music (although it was verboten in their era) and it's importance due to the divide between East and West thank's to the Berlin wall. Many radio station frequencies were jammed under the DDR (translated as the German Democratic Republic) but every now and then you could pick up these stations and here the forbidden music.
I have already done a video for this one as well so check that out, but i can safely say that this one grew on me with every listen.
Zeig Dich (Show Yourself)
Starts out with an ominous Choral chanting (In Latin I Believe) that conjures up imagery from "the Omen"
before a heavy discordant riff joins in.
Lyrically this one clearly has religious themes to it but i'm not going to pretend to know what they are. Even with translations, Lindemann's lyrics can be difficult to interpret but his androgynous poetry is one of the things that adds to their mystery.
committing them crimes
forgiveness of all sins
distribute and multiply
in the name of the Lord"
The pre-chorus riff on this one is old school Rammstein and harkens back to "Herzelied" and "Sensucht"
While the chorus itself reminds me very much of "Zwitter" from the "Mutter" album.
We multiply the light
No angel in distress
No god shows up
The sky turns red"
Oliver, gets a chance to shine toward the back half of the song, along with a return of the Choir. The song builds in dynamics and comes to an abrupt close.
Heavy, creepy and awesome.
Starts out with a keyboard line (courtesy of Flake of course) and has a very euro-pop style to it and will no doubt be one of the songs that causes some dissension with old school listeners.
Lyrically, it deals with the amount of travel required when in a band and how you are always a Foreigner. It particularly looks at the importance of language, and more specifically, the need for communication.
"Other countries, other tongues
That's how I forced myself early
The misunderstanding to the annoyance
That you have to learn languages
And when the sun goes down
And one stands in front of foreigners
Is it beneficial if you then
Being able to communicate"
The chorus has a cheeky, playful feel to it that is reminiscent of such songs as "Pussy"
"I am a foreigner (foreigner)
Mi amore, mon chéri
Ciao, ragazza, take a chance on me"
There are parts of this that i enjoy but it is not one of my favourites on the album.
Starts with an ambient keyboard intro before going into a swaggering riff that had hints of "Load" era Metallica with a tinge of "Kasabian" (which i think is a good thing)
There is a very tongue and cheek feel to this (careful where you go with this one considering the subject matter)
"We only live once
We love life
We love love
We live… during sex"
The bridge section features a great keyboard solo and some really heavy, chunky riffing.
I enjoyed this one a lot
A truly dark and disturbing song this one.
Starts out very understated and builds slowly
"If sister has to work
Lock me in the room
Has given a doll to me
Then I'm not alone
If sister has to work
Does not drive her by train
Her creative space is not far away
Is right in the room next door"
Till really starts to become frantic in his delivery later in the song and sounds truly unhinged.
"And then I tear off the doll's head
Then I tear off the doll's head
Yes, I bite off the doll's neck
I am not doing well"
At first it is backed by heavy, industrial drums by Christoph Schneider but is joined by Black metal style style tremolo picking that adds real darkness to the song.
The final chorus rings out
"When sister is indulging in the work
The light in the window is red
I look through the keyhole
And one struck her dead
And now I tear off the doll's head
Yes, I tear off the doll's head
And then I bite the doll's neck off
I'm fine now ... yes"
A very dark and disturbing song and one that will no doubt lend itself to the live show. They could do some very provocative visuals with this (and no doubt will)
Enjoyable is not the right word but it is a fine song and one of the high points on the album for me.
Was Ich Liebe (What I Love)
Starts out with an almost drum machine sounding... drum
There are parts of the verse that reminds me of "Amore" from "Reise, Reise'“and the chorus reminds me a lot of the Siouxsie and the Banshees cover of "Dear Prudence" by "The Beatles"
"What I love
That will spoil
What I love
That will die, oh die"
There is a great use of really heavy power chords in the bridge section that is very pleasing.
I've read a few reviews that have given this song a kicking, but i really enjoyed this more with each listen.
Starts out with what sounds like bass guitar in this much more stripped down song
At first glance, this could be a straight up love song, but as is often the Rammstein way, there is something darker going on here
"Like a jewel, so clear and clean
Your fine light was my whole being
Wanted to hold you in my heart
But what cannot love, must hate"
This was another song that didn't do a lot for me on first listen but it gets better with every listen.
Weit Weg (Far Away)
Starts out very synth heavy (and reminded me very much of "This Creature Lives" by "Mastodon"
Some nice heavy guitars in this song and a truly infectious chorus
So far away from here
Far, far away from you
So far away are we
Far, far away from me"
Some very old school Rammstein riffage in this one and Lindemann's vocals remind me of something from the "Sensucht" era.
There is some great melody mixed in with the heaviness of this track about the joy of body art.
"When the blood kisses the ink
When the pain embraces the flesh
I show my skin
Pictures that are so familiar
From the needle a blue flood
In the pores, the blood is boiling"
Hallomann (Hello Man)
Starts out with a very ominous sounding bass line and there is a definite, sinister feel to this one.
The whole song has a feeling of menace and darkness and it reminds me, in parts, of "Mein Teil"
I'll you to make your own minds up in regard to the lyrics. You can find the English translation for them here - https://genius.com/Genius-translations-rammstein-hallomann-english-translation-lyrics
I can see how some may be put off by some of the more melodic material on this album, but I for one thoroughly enjoyed it. The only song that I didn't really get into was "Ausländer" but even that had it's moments.
Rammstein, for me, have never released a "bad" album and this continues that tradition of quality control.
If this is to be their final album then it is one they can be proud of and go out with their heads held high.
You can check out my full video review of the album here -