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Reise, Reise

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  • Three years ago, Rammstein set forth on a voyage. Until then, they had been my one love, faithful and true, and they were missed. Eventually I came to miss them too much, and sought comfort in other German bands, Megaherz and the like. I feel shamed, dirtied, to have betrayed these musical geniuses with my infidelities. When their ship returned with the long-awaited “Reise, Reise” not only were my musical indiscretions forgiven, but they proved their love to me all over again with a triumphant album that literally sounds like nothing I have ever heard before.

    The progressive sound of Mutter is here, but taken to an entirely new level. With the exception of the heavier “Mein Teil” it’s hard to believe that this is the same Till Lindemann that simply growled out lyrics on Herzeleid. Till’s voice has become both powerful and beautiful in a way you won’t believe. The lyrical imagery is dark, but no longer in a way that evokes the idea of some personal grudge against Heaven itself. The album stands in heavy contrast to itself, alternating beauty and tension. Not one of these songs is less than amazing. I simply can’t describe the experience of “Reise, Reise” adequately, but I would be deprived without it.

    Reise, Reise: 5/5
    Beautiful. Till’s voice is amazing. My favorite song on the album.

    Mein Teil: 5/5
    Clever but twisted lyrics, extremely heavy music. Most like their previous work.

    Dalai Lama: 4/5
    After reading the lyrics on the internet, I expected this song to be a real disappointment. It wasn’t. A very well executed take-off on Goethe’s poem “Erlkoenig,” this song has a personality greater than the sum of its parts. The lyrics are enhanced by the music, and the music couldn’t stand without the lyrics. A captivating result.

    Keine Lust: 4/5
    Who would’ve thought debilitating depression would rock so hard? An interesting contrast between the fatalistic lyrics and driving beat on this song.

    Los: 4/5
    I think of this as the photographic negative of “Ich Will”. This song seems to describe the various negative and disbelieving reactions to Rammstein the media and some people have had over the years. There’s a strange feel to this song, too, almost a blues riff.

    Amerika: 5/5
    Rather than risk a flame war, let me just say that this is one of my favorite songs on the album.

    Moskau: 5/5
    Till is joined by a woman singing in Russian, for one of those songs that really gets your blood moving. This is allegedly Flake’s current favorite.

    Morgenstern: 5/5
    Another fine example of Till’s new vocal prowess. Combining a heavenly choir with a positively military beat, herein is the familiar idea of monstrous deformity. I think of this song as a thematic reprise of “Schwarzes Glas”.

    Stein um Stein: 5/5
    Rather like the lyrics of this song, Till carries innocent little melodies into dark places where they shouldn’t be and can’t escape. Prior to editing this review, “Stein um Stein” was at the bottom of my list for this album, though still well liked. With repeated listening, the delightfully perverse lyrics have really grown on me and taken a spot among my all-time favorites.

    Ohne Dich: 5/5
    The clearest example of Till’s beautiful voice. Beautiful melody. Beautiful lyrics. I can’t find a single flaw in this song. Not one.

    Amour: 4/5
    Even more extremely clever lyrics. Ever felt torn apart by love? I sure have, and the metaphor of love as an aggressive wild animal makes perfect sense to me. And oh, look, Till can still hit those low notes that you feel down in your boots!

    If you have any interest at all in Rammstein, you must, absolutely must, buy this NOW.

    Posted on March 17, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Rammstein change their formula a bit for their fifth album. Some would say “If it ain’t broken, why fix it?”, but Rammstein decided they needed to make more of a straight forward metal album. They have all but deleted the industrial/dance parts of their music (except for the keyboards). The band also churned out riffs that are different than what we’ve heard on their last two albums. The “chugga chugga” riffs are out, and wall shaking riffs are in. Add a singer who growls and almost snarls at times, and you have Rammstein’s new sound. Dark, loud and brooding; similar to Coal Chamber, circa 2002.

    Highlights include:

    The title track’s verses has vocals and a slow, almost spacey drum beat. The chorus, however, has a couple of riffs and the song ends with what sounds like a violin.
    “Mein Tell” is the lead single, and rightfully so. A good headbanger, it explodes with stereo rattling guitar noise. The singer’s (Till Lindemann’s) growling/snarling voice goes well with the music and the verses are good lead-ins to the heavy choruses.
    “Dalai Lama” begins with soft notes, as the guitarist slowly picks at the guitar’s fret board. Keyboards are included in the verses, but the chorus has choppy, chunky riffs.
    “Amerika” is the other single. The beginning and chorus have more strong riffs, but this song is a standout because the choruses are sung (not snarled) in English. Towards the end of the song, new wave keyboards make an entrance (against a background of churning guitar riffs).
    “Morgenstern” begins with what sounds like a female church choir. Then the guitars come aboard and make “boom boom” riffs, with the singer snarling in between them.

    If I could recommend any changes to this album, I’d say make some more industrial (Skinny Puppy-ish) dance numbers (“Los” is the only song I found myself tapping my foot to.) I wouldn’t delete any of the songs in favor of the industrial dance numbers, I’d just add to what’s already on this C.D.
    But the bottom line is, this is good metal. It’s dark enough if you’re looking for gothic metal, but the keyboards should appeal to industrial metal fans. I can’t see why anybody (*cough* Entertainment Weekly *cough*) would say this C.D. is monotonous. There are songs that rock hard (i.e. “Mein Tell”), but there are also songs that are a lot quieter and more restrained (i.e. “Dalai Lama”).
    Many people can’t get past the language barrier, which is too bad. It’s funny why Americans can’t get past the language barrier, when Europeans can! Bands like Slipknot and Metallica are just as popular as Rammstein in Germany. “Reise, “Reise” is already a hit in Germany, but to succeed in America, they need a hit single (like “Du Hast”). “Mein Tell” and “Amerika” come close, but they haven’t quite gotten the radio play they deserve. Support small time, underrated music, check this album out-Rammstein deserve it. If nothing else, call your local radio station and request they play some Rammstein. Also, make sure you see them live, it really helps you to appreciate and enjoy their music more.

    Posted on March 17, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Rammstein are one of those bands which do one thing and do it very well. In the case of the German band, it’s making very loud, very deep-voiced metal music with a sly sense of humour every now and then. “Reise, Reise” is largely more of the same that we’ve come to expect from them after their three previous albums.

    There are several standout tracks here. The opener and title track is based around what appears to have once been a sea-shanty, at least it seems to have been one before Till Lindemann’s voice got onto it coupled with a wall of guitars. Nevertheless, the melody is more readily discernible than many previous Rammstein efforts.

    Also of note is “Dalai Lama”, a song about rather typical Rammstein subject matter – dead people. This one features the “dead voices” that often appear, and on the surface seems to be a rather standard track. However, there are two interesting aspects to it. Firstly, as other reviewers have pointed out, the title alludes to a certain famous Tibetan monk and his fear of flying (after being on the flight described by Till, I think I’d be a little concerned about boarding another plane as well). More interesting for some, however, will be the lyrical parallels with the famous German poem “Der Erlkoenig”. In typical fashion, Rammstein adds a level of mordant and sadistic tragedy to the story that has to be heard to be believed.

    Another interesting track is “Moskau”, which features Russian vocals in places (written in Cyrillic script in the liner notes). This is a particularly speedy track and should certainly get pulses racing among fans of that sort of thing.

    Till’s interest in perversion manifests itself in the track “Mein Teil” (literally “My Part”, which means…well…you work it out). This track is inspired by the Armin Meiwes cannibalism trial in Germany and, to my ears at least, has overtones of a much earlier Rammstein offering – “Herzeleid”’s “Laichzeit” in the chorus. Nevertheless, the shout-along chorus of “Denn du bist/Was du isst/Und ihr wisst/Was das ist” (“Then you are/what you eat/and you all know/what that is”) is well worth the price of admission.

    Unlike many other reviewers, I also quite enjoyed the single of “Amerika”. There’s something to be said for Till’s vocals soaring over the lines “We’re all living in America/Amerika ist wunderbar”, all in all sounding reminiscent of “Sehnsucht”’s “Stripped”.

    Is there any progression from the incredible “Mutter”? Probably not. The sound is still basically the same and the subject matter likewise. More importantly, is there any real redeeming value in this album? Almost certainly not. Rammstein are still purveyors of very loud, very angry-sounding German metal of sorts. For a fan, the fact that most of the tracks here could be exchanged with those on any of the previous three albums is more than enough endorsement of this album. For those of you who can’t stand the thought, stay well away.

    Posted on March 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’m going to levy a disclaimer for this one. If you listen to Rammstein because you like the extremely heavy and fast paced guitar riffs from the other 3 albums, then I’m warning you this album does not have nearly as much of that on it. However, if you like Rammstein because of the heavy sound, their ability to switch pace mid song, and their incredibly deviant metaphoric lyrics, then this album is perfect for you.

    The band has said that they want to try and make Till sing better instead of just speak, and they want to make their songs more complex, and they did just that. This is truly a better work of metal musicianship, and these songs have much more melody than most of their previous works. Of course there are still some good fast paced tracks on there to help keep the overall album moving smoothly and let us know that they still enjoy that style, but for the most part this album is much more ‘beautiful’ and less ‘hardcore’ than their other efforts, and I am personally glad that Rammstein has decided to show off their skills a little more and start to stray from the standard formula of industrial heavy metal.

    So if you’re willing to hear something new, give this album a listen, just don’t expect speed metal. I’m looking forward to seeing them in concert now that they have a diverse array of songs to play, I just hope they come to the states again!

    Posted on March 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Rammstein’s latest album continues the greatness of one of the most ingenious and unique metal acts ever put together. I would think that I would hear a mediocre or so-so song by them by now, but no. This band just gets better and every song they make is awesome.

    Reise Reise is a great jump for the band, this is easily their most creative album musically and I think lyrically as well. Once you start hearing the accordion on the shanty-ish “Reise Reise”, you know you are in for something special. The album is different musically in the use of the accordion also in Moscow, and the acoustic trappings of Los which has a very cavernous bluesy feel.

    Lyrically you have the madness of Mein Teil (taking in the story of one of Germany’s notorious recent murders), to the ingenious of crass comercialism with Amerika as lead singer Teil waxes about the glory of US domination. Or the great symobolism of Dali Lama which talks about a plane crash of scared passengers, alluding to the Dali Lama’s own true fear of flying. Absoultely brilliant!

    They even make some poignant beautiful music in Ohne Dich (Without You), Tiel and the band has never sounded so wonderful. And the closer Amour sounds like these Germans could easily fit in comfortable in some dingy Paris cafe.

    An incredibly diverse album filled with symbolism, great metal, and most importantly awesome tunes!!

    Posted on March 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now