Rammstein promotional photo by Jens Koch
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Initially founded in Berlin in 1994, Deutsche Neue Harte band Rammstein rose quickly to fame in the United States, mainly from having been featured on the soundtrack of the David Lynch film “The Lost Highway,” and the massive radio success of their first U.S. single, “Du Hast Mich.” They capitalized on their success by taking part in the infamous Family Values Tour, which featured many metal and alternative bands famous at the time, including Rage Against the Machine and Cypress Hill.

While they haven’t received radio play in the way of “Du Hast Mich” since, the band has been far from a one-hit wonder—they have continued widely successful tours around the world and have continued to make music.

Last week, for the first time in 10 long years, Rammstein has finally released their seventh, much-anticipated studio album, which is self-titled. It was released progressively, with two tracks coming out alongside their video debut before the album was released in its entirety.

Like all Rammstein albums, it has 11 tracks. While squarely rooted in the genre that their sound helped create, the sound of the album has managed to continuously evolve from their sound in previous albums. This album features many of the same percussive elements as their previous albums. The percussion and its simple, driving beat are the constant. The guitars, bass and synth, alongside Lindemann’s distinctive vocals, flourish around the rigid percussive structure, creating a harmonically rich and deafening sound.

The guitars on this album are fairly consistent with their others. It contains lots of distortion, simple chords (rather than the complex chords prevalent in most metal genres) and lots of cascading patterns and catchy melodies. The bass, consistent with their style, uses lots of distortion as well. The chords are harmonized with the percussion, giving a deep and powerful sound.

Lindemann’s voice as an artistic element is as diverse on this album as any of their others. He has an ability to sing; in a deep, calm and soothing baritone as he does in the semi-ballad “Diamant,” or in a more rough spoken voice, with his ‘r’s rolled heavily and lots of vocal inflections. Most notably, in the track “Puppe,” he really screams in a dark, guttural and emotionally intense way that he seldom uses.

The lyrical content of the album is up to par with their past performances. It does not diverge from their tradition of cynically dishing out opinions on society, while not being afraid to touch taboo topics or utilize controversial imagery and content. Sometimes expressed frankly and without metaphor, as they did in “Deutschland” and “Radio,” the band redresses the European political climate in the context of its troubled past without batting an eye.

In other tracks like “Zieg Dich,” which means “show yourself,” the band condemns the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church and its issues with child sex abuse, singing “Track misconduct / Repay seduction … Passing on children / Spread and multiply / In the name of the gentlemen.” The band dips back into the dark netherworlds of the human mind and plays out nightmares through the lives of children in the song “Puppe” in ways very similar to previous tracks of theirs, such as “Spieluhr” and “Rosenrot.”

Overall, their self-titled album does not disappoint. Their sound has progressed yet remained true to its roots, which is generally known to be a hallmark of a talented group. Their lyrics are dark, complex, frightening and insightful. Hopefully, the band will announce a world tour soon!

 

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