These German industrial-metal titans originally formed in 1994 and ever since, all they’ve done is (Without trying to put a Nazi spin on this) conquered the world one arena, one stadium at a time. From their intense, eyebrow raising cover of DEPECHE MODE’s “Stripped”, to the beautifully haunting “Sonne”, right up the gloriously R-Rated “Pussy”, Till Lindemann and the lads have never shied away from controversy, and this can also be said for their live shows. Whether it’s boiling poor keyboardist Flake alive in a cauldron, ejaculating spectacularly into the audience via a giant mechanical penis, or generally just their unfathomable amount of pyrotechnics, Rammstein put on one of if not THE best live metal shows on the planet, and with their new technically untitled album, things are only getting bigger. With that said…let’s get ready to abuse Google-translate as we check out “Rammstein”.
We open up with “Deutschland” and in gloriously typical Rammer’s fashion; their first new track in a decade is an ode to Germany. Well, to a degree. From the steady rise in intensity of the frenetic synths, to the jolting riffs, to the eventual anthemic, regimented metal flurry, it simply excites from its very first chords. Lyrically plodding for the most part, but musically this is just captivating…it’s so good to have them back and this is a classic start. Following this then is the album’s first major highlight “Radio”…again; we start things off with some bouncing synths, before we get some traditionally crunching riffs. The balance here between the electronica, which, reminds me of old-school Moogs, and the hard rock is perfect and it’s an up-tempo little number with a seriously addictive chorus. Coming back to the topic of controversy, the track touches upon Nazi propaganda by means of censorship during the 30’s and 40’s. German citizens were subject to strict control of what they had access to during the time and here they touch upon that.
The first half of this album is quite heavy on the electronic front if I’m honest, with "Ausländer" being another stand-out track. Another up-beat offering bordering on dance-inspired, the techno elements are pulsing, while the track pounds away in a well delivered crossover style. Essentially meaning ‘foreigner’, lyrically it’s very ‘Jack The Lad’ as he sings of being a man of the world and a ladies man, heavily insinuating a sense of promiscuity. Speaking of which…”Sex” I guess you could say comes (Behave) right afterwards. More chilling synths followed by a groove-rich, almost southern-metal guitar tone and yet another brilliantly catchy chorus, it’s all about fiery passion and giving in to lust…however it’s no “Pussy”.
The second half of the album does admittedly slow down a touch but it certainly retains its talking points…none more so than “Puppe”. A dark yet equally wonderful and interesting track that’s based on an old poem; meaning ‘Doll’, it’s all hushed and subdued as Till sings of the prostitution of a sister character, while their younger sibling in care is forced to hear everything from the room next door, before the track erupts into an angry, scathing barrage of vocals, the result of a seemingly troubled upbringing. It’s a powerful track! “Tattoo” is another hard-rocking number that touches upon the duality that is the pleasure and the pain of self-expression, before “Hallomann” rounds things up in a frankly quite creepy manner. Remember when your mum and dad told you not to talk to strangers? At least I hope they did…but yeah this song reinforces that notion! Singing about picking up a little girl; no talking, just get in…presumably the van? One can assume sweets were offered? Promises of trips to the seaside, wanting her to sing and dance…this is all very questionable but still another deeply interesting track. I might be reading into it completely wrong for all I know…maybe Rammstein took Madeleine McCann? Ok I’m joking naturally, but it’s an odd one. Regardless, what we have here is an album that may have been ten years in the making, but oh how the time-off has played into Rammsteins favour; they sound fresh as a daisy. The weight of the guitars, the chilling synths, the dark lyricism…Rammstein are still unafraid to push buttons yet they continue to pull in bigger and bigger crowds. An outstanding come-back this…TO DEUTSCHLAND!