Friday, October 23

Initial Impressions of Rammstein's new album, Liebe ist für alle da

This is slightly off-topic for BoGD (are they horror music?), but the keeper of this blog was a huge Rammstein fan back in high school. Riding their breakthrough American success of the single Du hast, I ran out to snatch up Sehnsucht, their first album Herzeleid, and every import single I could latch my ears upon. I even have the now ultra rare Original Singles Kollection box set and the Gert Rammstein hardcover. Napster was still Radio Free Earth then, so I set forth to collect every bootleg live recording my bandwidth could handle.

Then came Live aus Berlin, Mutter, Reise, Reise, Rosenrot, and the live follow-up Völkerball from 2000 through 2006. The half life on these albums is short and I never listen to anything Mutter backwards nowadays. I only really care for two tracks from Reise, Reise and Rosenrot. The first being Mein Teil, inspired by the case of Armin Meiwes and "victim", a certain primitive murder lust violently pervades the song otherwise absent in their catalog. It doesn't glorify the crimes of the pitiful Meiwes, but revels in the intensity of mutual mutilation and the German tabloid feast over the lurid details. Rosenrot's Feuer und Wasser just might my favorite "R+" track as it perfectly executes the operatic power delved into with Mutter that ran throughout the backbone of their sound afterward.

I sorta skipped over Völkerball. The entire album (at least in CD form) has the muddy trademark of "internal" volume pumping from dynamic range compression. It's simply hard to listen to and I have several old concert bootlegs of the band that are more pleasing for my ears to endure. This brings us (finally, I know) to Liebe ist für alle da, released stateside this past Tuesday. Listening now going back and forth through the numbers; the album is possibly the band's most accomplished album of any thus far. There are many attempts of variation within the bridges and refrains than previous albums; even though outsiders will probably just hear the same ol' monolithic wall of Germanic crunch. Harps, horns, soft acoustic strums, industrial jitterings, and even piss take whistling accompany the titan beats of the usual Rammstein fare. One often voiced complaint has been the lack of synth diddling in their later albums and keyboardist Flake gets more to do here but still isn't integral to any track like on Herzeleid or Sehnsucht.

But I haven't been much of a fan in good standing for years because of their "whenever the fuck" studio recording schedule. So right now I'm hearing more vanilla repetition with a couple of tracks standing out. Wiener Blut (Viennese Blood) begins with a soft children's rendition of the Johann Strauss Austrian waltz before smashing down terror with lyrics that tell of the morbid Josef Fritzl case. "Paradise lies under the house/The door falls closed, the light goes out/Are you ready?/Are you still there?/Welcome…to the darkness!"

Of course, that sounds so much more horrifying in its native tongue through the chords of a screaming Till Lindemann with terrified muttered feminine whimpering peppered in. The portion of the song that refers to incest features children laughing with the whimpers only growing more urgent. In other words, it's awesome in its subversive creepiness and acts as a great sister to Mein Teil. The lead single, Pussy, is also great fun with its ridiculous innuendo mix between languages that speaks back to Rosenrot's Mexican booze-fueled Te quiero puta! The downright raunchy porn video for Pussy trumps the song though. You can find it yourself.

The title track, Liebe ist für alle da (There is love for everyone), describes a rape fantasy becoming reality with rapid destruction drums reminiscent of early Metallica. The last track to strike me was actually the last track, Roter Sand (Red Sand). It's the band's now customary quiet album closer most similar to Herzeleid's Seeman. It's a somber stroll down the path of a man dying from a gunshot of both literal and emotional sentiment that almost echos Akira Yamaoka's work with the Silent Hill game OSTs just with more hope. On the second disc of the 2-CD Special Edition there are two other versions of this song. It makes you wish Rammstein would at least release an EP of nothing but this brand of melancholy.

Overall, nothing really new from the masters of the Deutsch aural metallic earache and it won't change minds, but there's a exhibition of maturity that ties the sound of their raw output of the '90s with the trumped up epicness of their post-millennial efforts. It'll probably grow on me before suddenly dying on the vine like most their other work.


Thomas Pluck said...

I'm a big fan as well, though the similarity of their albums makes them difficult to get very excited about. I had to order an import of Herzeleid after they were on the Lost Highway soundtrack, so the early stuff is my fave. Especially Sensucht, since blasting Du Hast before it was a hit, was a lot of fun. The new album is good fun, but very... familiar.

J. Astro said...

I've often wondered when the hell a new album was gonna surface, and now I know, thanks! Although I suspect I'll only sample a track or two to start with; like you I haven't been as enamored with their later shit (except for Mann Gegen Mann, which I love muchly).

And to Tommy Salami: I did the exact same thing after I heard the the LOST HIGHWAY soundtrack - ordered an import copy of 'Herzeleid'.

KFelon said...

I like Rammstein and have been a fan since 2000 or so after picking up Herzeleid. Reise, Reise is probably my favorite album. The 2 live releases are my least favorite, but the DVDs are fun to watch.

This new album though, is good, but I don't care for it as much as the majority of their past albums. Some of it feels recycled, especially when you get to the song Pussy. Lyrically it is reminiscent of Te Quiero Puta as you said, but the music actually sounds completely recycled from their song Moskau. you dare tread upon the staircase?

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