Album Review: Rammstein’s ‘Rammstein’

This Teutonic dance metal is what it sounds like when doves cry, earth scorches and mankind melts to a puddle.

As far as “Neue Deutsche Härte” bands from Berlin go, Rammstein is the Euro-everyman’s favorite go-to gear-grinding sextet, together with the same membership for 25 years — although their new album, the group’s first in a decade, marks the first time they’ve gotten round to an eponymous album. Taking after a name defined (in German dictionary terms) as a stone-crafted battering ram, the group is famous for its pounding sound of industrial morass, which, when combined with its dance-tronic, industrial New Wave sheen, has made Rammstein an oddly sensual experience in its decades of international renown.

Driven by co-founder Till Lindemann’s deeply Germanic  guttural vocals and occasionally perverse sex talk (that is, when he isn’t chattering on about his loathing of governments and organized religion), Rammstein is chilly without being cold, eerily epicene and epic, and, of course, kinkily apocalyptic. If Bill Maher got a gig fronting “Downward Spiral”-era NIN, you’d have an English-speaking Rammstein on your hands.

On the new “Rammstein,” the band’s bold brand of Teutonic dance metal is what it sounds like when doves cry, earth scorches, the vice squad appears, and mankind melts to a puddle on cleaving metallic tracks such as “Tattoo,” and operatic cuts such as “Zeig Dich.” Translated as “Show Yourself,” here, a brawny set of crunching, clean guitars, thundering drums, tinkling pianos and a Wagnerian vocal choir roam behind Lindemann as he inelegantly cough-croons lines such as “Curse desires / Damn temptation / Promise damnation / Commit crimes.” Only in German… man, is it stern sounding.

Other lyrics on this long-awaited, self-titled album look toward the seedier side of things. While a discordant “Hallomann” could be Peter Lorre’s child-killing “M” put to maudlin metal machine music, the crisply swinging “Sex” finds the singer emoting passionately and compassionately about carnal acts beyond the pale. When Lindemann howls “A fist in my stomach / Come here, you want it too,” you feel his urge and his pain, at once. His sexual desires are closely knitted to his spiritual needs, and both must be satisfied.

It’s a different sort of painful dilemma that infiltrates “Puppe” (“Puppet”) and its red-light district of the mind, a psychic Amsterdam where marionettes become chew toys, and family members working as prostitutes take on all comers. “And sometimes there are two,” sings Lindemann with a mix of sadness and salaciousness.

For all the pernicious provocation found in Lindemann’s lyrical intent on these tracks — to say nothing of his huffing and puffing sing-speak — the crush of industrial metal and curt Germanic synth-tronica make it all seem safe, just another aspect of Rammstein’s cascading and contagious melody.

That’s the surprisingly winning thing about Rammstein. The steely sextet could execute wild sex acts and whore their sisters out and eat puppet heads, and still, that snap-crackle-thrumm-smash-and crash makes for its own crepuscular brand of pop. Take songs such as “Ausländer” and “Radio” as the best examples of Rammstein’s attraction to catchy song craft. While the former could easily become a hummable dance floor sensation alongside VASSY & Disco Fries’ “Concrete Heart,” the latter is a dark and prickly ode to the joys of loving (and hating) music, done up in subtly sparkling melodic twitches. If Queen’s “Radio Ga-Ga” was looking for its evil twin, they’d find it in Rammstein.

Though slow, dense ballads such as “Was Ich Liebe” and “Diamant” hold epic weight for Lindemann and company —  and therefore room to rouse and ruminate — it is “Deutschland”  that is this untitled album’s chant-and-response centerpiece, a slyly contagious song with socio-conscious lyricizing that touches on everything from loathing neo-Nazis to being disgusted with the motherland In a manner that turns a country into a spurned paramour. “We’ve already been together too long … Germany, I cannot give you my love,” sings Lindemann, humanizing his homeland, while turning away from its advances.

While by no means a perfect album, Rammstein’s first since 2009’s “Liebe ist für alle da” is a scintillating and sensual (if not awkwardly sexual) reminder of the meat-and-steel-pounded power of industrial music at its catchiest, fleshiest and most inventive.

Caroline Records

Album Review: Rammstein’s 'Rammstein'

More Music

  • Greyson Chance -Gabby Barrett Alejandro Aranda

    Greyson Chance, 'Idol' Alums Gabby Barrett and Alejandro Aranda Sign Major Label Deals

    Two “American Idol” alumni — Gabby Barrett and Alejandro Aranda — as well as viral star Greyson Chance all announced new major label recording contracts this week. Barrett, who finished in third place of the first season of the rebooted ABC version of “Idol,” has joined the roster of Warner Music Nashville. The singer had [...]

  • BTS World

    BTS World Mobile Game From K-Pop Group Rockets to No. 1 Spot on App Charts Worldwide

    BTS, the biggest K-pop group in the world, now has the biggest app in the world. “BTS World,” a mobile simulation game that lets fans virtually become the South Korean pop stars’ manager, quickly rose to the top of Apple’s App Store charts in multiple countries just hours after its release on Wednesday, June 26. [...]

  • Disney Pandora World Of Avatar, Lake

    The Piano Guys Play 'Avatar' Theme in Disney World (Watch)

    The YouTube sensation The Piano Guys have taken a trip to the world of Pandora for a performance of the theme to “Avatar.” Shot in the bioluminescent floating forest in Disney World, cellist Steven Sharp Nelson and pianist Jon Schmidt put their spin on the score to James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster. The video immerses the [...]

  • usa, california, palm springs, windmills san

    Agua Caliente, Oak View Group Partner to Build New Arena in Palm Springs

    A new sports and entertainment arena is coming to downtown Palm Springs. Today it was announced that the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and Oak View Group (OVG) will partner to build a new state-of-the-art sports and live entertainment venue. Live Nation Entertainment also boards as a strategic partner. The venue’s capacity will seat at [...]

  • MadonnaThe Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the

    Madonna Revives Nightmarish Imagery of Orlando Nightclub Massacre in New Music Video

    Any thoughts that Madonna’s provocative streak might be taking a time-out in 2019 were put to a halt with her release Wednesday of a new music video for her song “God Control,” which portrays a bloody massacre in a nightclub and is peppered with slogans advocating for gun control. Filmed by director Jonas Åkerlund largely in [...]

  • Miley Cyrus

    Miley Cyrus Teases 'Charlie's Angels' Collaboration with Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey

    Three of the biggest female pop stars have joined forces in a new song for the Elizabeth Banks-directed reboot of “Charlie’s Angels.” In a tweet posted Wednesday, Miley Cyrus hinted at a collaboration between herself, Lana Del Rey, and Ariana Grande in the forthcoming film. Alongside a 14-second teaser, originally posted by Sony Pictures, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content