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.