A resounding triumph, Rammstein's first album in a decade finds them as unique and unstoppable as ever, tethered to originality and provocation
It’s been an entire decade since Rammstein released a record. But realistically this album could be a collection of ditties about crustacean population of the river Rhine and people would not only buy it droves, but flock to see them play it live. In the last 30 years, no other metal band has been quite so unique and uncopied as Rammstein.
Say what you will about them – after all, they are men in their late 50s, playing dress-up, using giant penis canons to fire foam over crowds, so there is a considerable farcical element here – but they are consistently excellent. They’ve also never had that dubious patch that most of the big metal bands go through where they totally lose their shit (see Metallica’s ‘Lulu’ for the most heinous example.)
This untitled album has, as is the case with every Rammstein record, 11 tracks, kicking off with first single ‘Deutschland’, a nine-minute opus of German history, vocalist Till Lindemann playing the part of storyteller and provocateur with references to the Third Reich, Weimar Republic and Hindenburg disaster in a way that only he could.
Recent single ‘Radio’ is a highlight – okay, Lindemann’s unmistakable baritone vocals churning out “mein radio” might not qualify as lyrical genius, but it’s catchy as hell. ‘Sex’ is another killer – all twangy countrified guitars and nonchalant ‘Personal Jesus’-esque drums. Like its moniker, it’s more groove-laden and sleazy, showcasing this slower new sound they’re going for to perfection. The final standout is ‘Puppe’ is terrifyingly good and designed for playing in heaving traffic, windows down to scare the living shit out of all the basics.
Yes, there are a few tracks that leave you feeling like you’ve had a crap flat white and need to drip feed Red Bull directly into your veins. ‘Auslander’ sounds like shit Europop – but worse – and ‘Was Ich Liebe’ is a lovelorn ditty that we could all do without in our lives.
But while so many bands of their ‘90s industrial/nu-metal ilk have slipped away into obscurity (Spineshank, Trapt or Powerman 5000, anyone?), Rammstein and their unshakable sound have remained tethered to their originality, fusing catchy lyrics with serious industrial power hooks. For that they should be applauded across the board, because this album is undoubtedly a resounding triumph.