Written By: Tim Bannock
Label: Universal – Rating:
Pull your giant, flame-spurting dildo out of the closet, take your shirt off, and roll your R’s like a cartoon leprechaun, because Rammstein has returned!
Rammstein’s career trajectory has been clearly defined from the outset: this is a band that plays super-macho industrial metal with crunching guitars, symphonic samples, and ridiculously overpowering vocals spitting forth incredibly tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Rammstein didn’t fall into any holes on their sophomore release, Sehnsucht, and in fact proved how experimental they could be on that album. They also showed how they could provide some linguistic acrobatics, incorporating German, English, French and later Spanish into their repertoire, all still with tongue planted firmly in cheek. A pretty good run, if you ask me.
Mutter, and to a lesser extent, Reise Reise brought a little more aggression and melody to the mix, but then Rosenrot came along and dropped the ball in this reviewer’s opinion. By no means a bad album, it instead was predictable. Rammstein wasn’t experimenting; Rammstein was playing by the numbers. It was sometime after Mutter that Rammstein seemed to lose relevance, little by little. Their live shows were still incendiary (literally, especially in the penis area) — check out Volkerball if you don’t believe me — but their music just didn’t have the staying power in anyone’s CD player (or WinAmp queue) when compared to other releases at the time. And that’s what makes Liebe Ist Für Alle Da so good: it’s experimental, it’s awesome, and it’s not leaving the CD player anytime soon.
‘Liebe’ opens with a crushing, straight-forward attack in the symphonically-aided “Rammlied,” and is followed by “Ich Tu Dir Weh,” featuring one of the most sing-a-long choruses Rammstein’s ever put to paper…something difficult to grasp when German isn’t your primary tongue, but I’ll be damned if I don’t fake it during this song. The tracks get better and better, pushing the boundaries of industrial thrash like their first album, and veering into foot-stomping anthemic rockers (“Haifisch”). And that’s when Rammstein takes the experimental nature of some of the samples and vocal melodies and infuses the entire song with that nature: “B*******” features some serious double-bass kicking, grinding guitar chugging, and Cannibal Corpse-esque growls. Absolutely ferocious, and it leads into…an 80’s style power ballad?! You heard it right. “Fruhling in Paris” is a powerfully emotional heavy ballad sung in French and German that touches on elements of current shoegazer rock as well as summoning up images of Bon Jovi’s video for “Living In Sin.”
Suddenly, “Weiner Blut” opens up with it’s storytelling atmospherics which are quickly stripped away by the blazing double-bass rhythm and Ministry-esque guitars. “Pussy” kicks in with a danceable beat and possibly the best Depeche Mode melody to ever be backed by rocking metal guitars. Of course, the lyrics — this time sporting German and English words — are completely ridiculous: “You have a pussy, I have a dicker. What’s the problem? Let’s do it quick.” And later “Take me now, don’t you see, I can’t get laid in Germany.” You think they’ve used lines like this on the backstage chicks while they are touring English-speaking countries?
The title track is more thrash and pomp, and is followed by the super-tense atmosphere of “Mehr,” which sounds partly like a crazed villain explaining why it’s a good thing if he destroys the planet, and partly like a look into that same villain’s soul and seeing that his humanity was lost in some terrible tragedy. Now, the lyrics aren’t really about anything like that, but the music is so evocative and good, and the change-up halfway through to a melodic rocker is just completely amazing. The album closes on a classically influenced movie-like theme that certainly doesn’t fit anywhere else, and is just as oddball and wild as the rest of the album, but in a totally different way.
This is Rammstein at their best: they are experimenting again, they are tearing it up and laying it down, they are writing interesting songs without denying their you-can’t-find-more-machismo-in-a-Western-than-you-can-here attitude. If you like Rammstein, you’ll love this. If you hate them, you might just change your mind: there’s heaviness, melody, thrash, dance, samples, classical music, and amazing vocals. And if you don’t know them, now’s the time to take a listen.
**Editor’s Note: If you haven’t seen the video for “Pussy,” you’ve missed out on a special treat that only Rammstein can bring. Check it out here.