Rammstein | Universal | 5/19 | Score: 10/10
▣ By Anthony Coy
The time is upon us. New Rammstein. Tomorrow May 17th is the day you’ll be able to hear the first full-length Rammstein LP since 2009. We’ve gotten sprinkles of new content during this time and of course, they’ve been touring but new music was something they had to wait for the right time to gift us with. What. A. Fucking. Treat. This. Gift. Is. Let me tell you. The R+ formula of 11 songs is back, though Till has mentioned they have enough completed material for an entirely new album already. Can you say Rosenrot anyone?
This album marks a new era for the German sextet and as a self-proclaimed superfan, I can tell you that rings true. Albums past have seen the guys renting giant mansions for months on end and each one driving away on their personal laptops before coming back together to try and piece songs together. Richard, seemingly always the negative catalyst of the group, dreaded coming back together for a new album 5-ish years ago. He explains the process as infuriating and mentally exhausting. Someone more recently suggested they get together and just jam on some songs to see what would happen. This change was a decided success that even Richard felt good about. Paul has said they have well over 30 riffs out of these jam sessions.
Musically, this will sound like a Rammstein record for the uninitiated. To me, the eleven songs you’ll hear are very different from the older tracks though they do maintain the sound we’ve all come to know and love. Let’s dig in!
Deutschland, the first track, was given to us as an epic 9-minute video directed by Specter Berlin. In true R+ fashion, there is a lot of meaning in not so many words, and tabloids were scrambling over them before the album even dropped. The song and video touches upon Germany’s interesting past (yes, even the holocaust) going back 16 AD. Till’s beautiful poetry tells a tale that he wants to be proud to be German but it’s tough due to all the shitty things they’ve done throughout history. Musically, Flake doesn’t disappoint with an amazing synth lead dripping in reverb before the guitars build up into a very different main riff, though it works! The verses see the normal spoken phrases though they are echoed by Richard which is a very decided change. It seems Richard’s 2 Emigrate albums have influenced his writing and it shows in this track. Check out the video now!
Radio hit me like a sack of German potato salad the first time I heard it. Another amazing synth starts this track. We got this one before the whole album as well, video in tow, and this was the most Rammstein-esque of the two prerelease songs. The verses are very pre-Herzeleid era (very raw and synth driven) and the song pounds. It’s very straight forward until a bridge with some amazing reverbed toms and a patch of epic choir. That’s actually one of my first real observations on the album as a whole. The drum sections/ production has STEPPED up, hard. Lyrically, Till delves into an older time in Europe when Germany was split in half by a wall. The radio was the only thing the government couldn’t control so people’s lives became enamored with it. The video is a black and white television studio set with the boys spouting suit and ties as well as some dope mustaches. They’re introduced by Kraftwerk in another very cool video. Check out the video now!
Zeig Dich (Show Yourself) opens with a live choir shouting Latin before that beautiful crunchy guitar builds into the main. Musically, nothing of huge note to me other than a cool distorted bass break with the choir coming back over it. The chorus reminds me of the Zwitter chorus for some context. Lyrically, Till touches upon religion and from what I can tell, its grip on making life difficult and undesirable. It’s a solid guess this will be the next video. As we’ve gotten screenshots of nuns and the like from a yet to be unreleased video.
Auslander (Foreigner) is a FUCKING TRIP. Easily my favorite track from my few full listens today. If Rammstein made house music, this would be it. The main riff brings me life. It’s so good it hurts. So, imagine a house synth riff, then add RZK and Paul riffing over it, then add Schneider’s pounding drum beat. Explaining it doesn’t do it justice. Listen to this one loud. Trust. Lyrically, we don’t have the words yet though I can infer that it’s about being a foreigner (heh, the title?) and Till reinforces that by speaking three languages in the chorus. Where he’s taking it is a mystery but good lord, I had to jam it while typing this. It’s good. Really good.
Sex (lyrically self-explanatory, come on) is track five. The main hook is a kind of sleazy guitar ballad which sets up the link for me lyrically. Till sings “Sex! Come to me!” in the chorus which ties it all together. Overall, one of my least favorite. I hate nothing about this album, just ranked slightly lower than the others. Nothing big stands out to me lyrically or sonically in this track.
Another favorite, Puppe (Puppet), is track six. This damn song. Lyrically, it seems to be the tale of a disturbed child who gets locked into a room while his sister works. His only sense of entertainment is a doll who ends up getting destroyed by his hands. Musically, I have NEVER heard Till go so hard. The first chorus section which is just Till and Schneider is incredible. This may be my second favorite behind Auslander.
Was Ich Liebe (what I love) rolls in next. This is one of the most interesting songs on the album for me. There’s a lot of layers and the song builds nicely. Clean guitars build up into a huge chorus and the heavy riff leads into a spooky second verse. Lyrically, we’ll have to wait for the lyric book!
Diamant (Diamond) is the ballad of the album and track number eight. Just Till and clean guitars with a dash of keys. Till can be heard saying “Du bist schoen” so I infer it’s about a woman whom he thinks is beautiful in his eyes (He says “augen” too). The track is very short but sweet.
Weit Weg (Far away) rings in at number nine. Lyrically, not sure where this one’s headed. Musically, some cool key work is laced throughout, and the drum production updates can be heard on this one.
Tattoo is the most Rammstein song you’re going to get on this album. A heavy guitar riff kicks it off before the drums build up into the signature R+ hammer beat. The verses are the old formula of a few bars of Till and Schneider before the riff kicks back in and back. It’s a jam and a half. Lyrically, not sure yet!
Halloman (Hello man) rounds out the album. Lyrically, Till calls “hello little girl” in the verse and “sing for me” in the chorus so who knows. It’s sure to be disturbing as always. Musically, the song feels like a ballad but does have distorted guitars and drums. Nothing of huge note but a good song!
All in all, ten years is way too long to wait but this doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. I’ve seen reviews of this album where people chastise them for not “going out of their way” to experiment though, to someone who actually knows their music, I disagree. The only “Rammstein” song I hear on this effort is Tattoo and the bigger question is, why the hell would you want or expect them to make an album that wasn’t their sound? If you’re a fan in any capacity, this album kicks ass. If you like metal or hard rock at all, this album kicks ass.
10/10. Easily. The album is everything I hoped for and more. It is available everywhere tomorrow! Be sure to pick it up.
Ja! Nein! Rammstein!
1. “Deutschland” (“Germany”) 5:23
2. “Radio” 4:37
3. “Zeig dich” (“Show Yourself”) 4:15
4. “Ausländer” (“Foreigner”) 3:51
5. “Sex” 3:56
6. “Puppe” (“Doll”) 4:33
7. “Was ich liebe” (“What I Love”) 4:29
8. “Diamant” (“Diamond”) 2:34
9. “Weit weg” (“Far Away”) 4:20
10. “Tattoo” 4:11