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Rammstein, RosenrotEast German industrial titans follow up 2004’s Reise Reise with this fifth studio album, whose title translates as ”Rose Red”. It consists of leftover material from the Reise Reise sessions which the band felt strong enough to merit a release in its own right. On this album they continue to broaden their palette with a track in Spanish and a duet with Texas’s Sharleen Spiteri on ”Stirb Nicht Vor Mir” (”Don’t Die Before Me”). Includes the single ”Benzin” (”Petrol”).

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  • Following on the heels of 2004’s commerically successful, but rather disappointing “Reise, Reise”, we are presented one year later with Rammstein’s “Rosenrot”, an album of “leftovers” from the recording sessions for that album. So how does “Rosenrot” measure up? Well, actually very well, but it definitely has some MAJOR flaws…

    Some of the tracks on this album are undoubtedly among their best ever.
    “Mann gegen Mann”, “Rosenrot”, “Wo bist du?”, “Zerstoeren” and “Feuer und Wasser” are all top quality work, all infinitely better than anything that was on “Reise, Reise”. But that’s the problem…

    The fact is, that this album is literally up-and-down like a yo-yo. At least “Reise, Reise” had some structure, and although none of the songs truly shone, the whole thing flowed very nicely. Unfortunately, this is not the case with “Rosenrot”, and while about half of the songs definitely do shine, others simply do not, and the intermittent moments of brilliance are ruined by equally intermittent moments of tedium.

    Album opener “Benzin” is adequate at best. It’s pretty loud and energetic alright, but Rammstein have done all this before, and there’s really nothing new in this song. Think “Feuer Frei!” combined with “Amerika”. Basically, “Benzin” lacks creativity and spark, and falls a little flat as a result. The song’s execrable video certainly does not help matters either.

    “Stirb nicht vor mir (Don’t Die Before I Do)” is very lovely musically, and while I do not have a problem with the fact that it is about as big a musical deviation as Rammstein have ever made (at least it’s fairly well done), I do have a BIG problem with whoever teamed Till Lindemann up with Sharleen Spiteri. Both are very talented vocalists in their respective, and VERY different ways, but together…ugh. As Till sings in one of the album’s better tracks, “Fire and water do not come together”. He really should have practiced what he preached with this one, because listening to the two of them singing in unison is about as pleasurable as listening to fingernails scraping down a chalkboard.

    “Hilf Mir” could have been superb, but after a listen, one feels that something is missing, as if the song was only half-finished when it was put onto the album. Another chorus perhaps to round the whole thing off would have created something really satisfying, but as it stands it’s a little unfulfilling.

    “Te Quiero Puta” marks two firsts for Rammstein. One, the first song sung entirely in Spanish. Two, the first Rammstein song I cannot bear to listen to. This song simply goes too far. It is not humourous or melodic in the least, it is just deeply stupid and highly irritating. Easily the worst on the album, and equally easily, the worst of their career.

    And “Ein Lied” is just plain dull, with a few nice touches, but generally the album could have gotten by just as well without it. It’s like the appendix of the album: It’s there, but no one would really miss it if it wasn’t.

    So, why the four star rating? Because, quite simply the rest of the tracks on “Rosenrot” are among the all-time greats in Rammstein’s considerable roster. This is Rammstein doing what they do best, free of any tiresome “Reise, Reise”-esque experimentation, and blowing you away with their talents.

    Track two, “Mann gegen Mann” is excellent, hits all the right notes and throws in some brilliant keyboards and vocals to boot. After the perfunctory “Benzin”, this track really picks up the pace and restores your faith in the Rammstein that gave us such masterpieces as “Herzeleid”, “Sehnsucht” and “Mutter”.

    The title track “Rosenrot” is simply flawless, and for one reason alone; it is just so well-structured. It is a heavily chorus-based song, and there is little to no change in the bass riff throughout. They go easy on the synth too, and there’s not much in the way of solos (except a bridge that sounds suspiciously similar to “Stein um Stein” from “Reise, Reise”). But these are the exact qualities that make the song so fantastic, vocals are especially strong, and you can tell that all the band members pulled together and put in 100% for this one. A definite classic.

    “Wo bist du?” almost harkens back to the days of “Sehnsucht” with it’s masterly synths and melody, and a keyboard solo that is simply magnificent. It is also one of their catchier songs, but not in the annoying way that “Amerika” was catchy. It’s more professional and sincere.

    “Zerstoeren” is a full-on scream of an anthem, full of dynamic sound effects and full-throttle vocals and instrumentation. Like “Wo bist du?”, it sounds like a pumped up version of something from “Sehnsucht”. Another highlight of the album.

    “Feuer und Wasser” is a ballad, but one of the band’s more convincing. It is interesting in that it starts very quiet and hushed, but after two minutes, it practically explodes into a huge, competent anthem, with a great guitar solo.

    The only track I’m not yet sure on is Track Four, “Spring”. It’s chorus is undeniably stunning, but the rest of it is a little… I don’t know. Although it is definitely grows on you.

    So, in summary, this is a very good album, based on the strength of six of it’s songs. It’s definitely worth buying, even for a casual fan, and shows that although the band had somewhat lost their way with “Reise, Reise”, they haven’t completely lost it. Just be ready with that “Skip” button on your stereo.

    The best, in order;

    1. Rosenrot (10/10)
    2. Wo bist du? (10/10)
    3. Zerstoeren (10/10)
    4. Feuer und Wasser (10/10)
    5. Mann gegen Mann (10/10)
    6. Spring (9/10)
    7. Hilf Mir (8/10)
    8. Benzin (7/10)
    9. Stirb nicht vor mir (6/10) * for the instrumentation only.
    10. Ein Lied (5/10)
    11. Te Quiero Puta! (2/10)

    Posted on December 6, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • First off, don’t expect another Sehnsuct. They have changed slightly in sound, which is too bad, but thats not to say their newer style isn’t amazing in itself. If you didn’t like Reise, Reise, you probobly won’t like Rosenrot all that much either, although I do notice more electronic elements than Reise, Reise, it’s still not as abundant as Sehnsuct or Mutter. This really isn’t all that heavy of an album either, but still excellent. I’d say go for it, but the other version is definatly better, having the full 11 tracks.

    Posted on December 6, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This album is Rammstein’s greatest ever, a seamless fusion of the varied styles present in their previous releases. While musically it is most similar to Mutter, it incorporates the flowing melodies of Reise, Reise and the outright punch of Sehnsucht.

    It starts strong with “Benzin”, a bombastic track punctuated by sirens and ending with some very sound advice about parting from things. This flows neatly into “Mann Gegen Mann”, the hardest-rocking track on the CD, very similar in tone to “Tier” from Sehnsucht.

    The title track is phenomenal, dark and haunting and driven by a bass rumble that grabs you and holds on. It makes good use of the melodic side of Till’s voice, as does “Wo Bist Du?”, my personal favorite song. It sounds straight off RR, with its orchestral backing (an element of RR that is mostly missing from Rosenrot, unfortunately) and soaring and plunging vocals that span Till’s entire range.

    “Spring” is both musically appealing and, if you speak German, deeply disturbing. It conveys more horror than any other Rammstein song, which is quite the accomplishment, given the previous release of songs such as “Heirate Mich” (Herzeleid).

    The weakest points of this album are “Stirb Nicht Vor Mir” and “Te Quiero Puta!”. “Stirb Nicht Vor Mir” is, as Flake said during one of the chat sessions which followed the release, an embarassment. The worst of it is that it could have been amazing if the female singer had a) sung in German and b) been either Bobo or Viktoria Fersch, both of whom have contributed to previous Rammstein albums. Let’s face it: as talented as Sharleen Spiteri is, her voice does not suit German metal. AT ALL. “Te quiero puta!” is just annoying. Till’s Spanish is appalling. Good thought, though. It might have worked for a less hardcore band, as a humourous number.

    “Hilf Mir” and “Feuer und Wasser” are both excellent. “Feuer und Wasser” shows, like “Adios” (Mutter), just how good Richard Z. is with that guitar. Add Till’s voice and you see why no German metal band has ever come close to the greatness of Rammstein, and why probably none ever will.

    “Ein Leid” is a perfect conclusion to the album, a song about the power of music over both the artists and the listeners. It’s slow and personal and makes the music of Rammstein more intimately real.

    Even if you don’t like Rammstein, buy this album. It’ll change the way you see music forever.

    Posted on December 6, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This is a hard review for me to write. I’m a fan of every single Rammstein track, album, Live performance, video… you get the idea. When I first heard Rosenrot, I was torn as I tried to figure out whether I was listening to musical genius or the fall of a great band. Sounds scary, but rest assured- I love this album.

    So where’s the controversy? To understand Rosenrot, you need some background. Shortly after the release of Reise, Reise, Rammstein found themselves a bit disillusioned with touring (where someband members began to feel the weight of fans’ demand for over-the-top shows), and with their record company (as they were only one album short of fulfulling their contract and re-negotiating their terms). Returning to the studio briefly, the band agreed that there was enough material leftover from the previous album to begin a work originally called Reise, Reise Part 2. Adding in some new tracks, Rammstein quickly pushed out the successor that became Rosenrot, which they now felt was strong enough to be a stand-alone album, and not just a Part 2.

    So is Rosenrot just a half-baked attempt to fulfill some random obligations? Not in this reviewer’s opinion. A few tracks will definately grate on some listener’s ears (Stirb Night vor Mir is the un-popular choice here), but all of the fuss over only a small number of hit-or-miss tracks should tell you something about the history of the band. Rammstein fans are used to releases full of potential singles, where nary a weak song exists. Even if you wind up passing on a few tracks, what’s left is brutally fun music that’s well worth the purchase price. Right off the bat, the album opens up with Benzin and Mann Gegen Mann, guitar-heavy tracks that will please Rammstein fans of any era. Rosenrot, Spring, and Wo Bist Du seem like softer, nearly ballad-like songs at face value, but listen closely and you’ll hear that Rammstein’s still rocking full-force for a big chunk of the time.

    That’s when Stirb Nicht vor Mir hits, and it’s honestly not that bad. Sure, it starts out sounding a little too close to country music for most Rammstein fans’ tastes. And yes, Rammstein should have contacted their normal female vocalist, Bobo. But the replacement used isn’t quite as bad as some will make her out to be. And even if you hate it, just hit Fast-Forward. This puts you at Zerstören, my personal favorite from the album. It’s hard-hitting, and the main guitar riff is one that every listener will be trying to get out of their head for days to come- brilliant. A short jog through the near-power-ballad of Hilf Mir, and you’re at Te Quiero Puta!. This track is a wonder, as it’s performed entirely in Spanish. Trumpets blend with metal guitar to make an addictive blend, and it’s one of the album’s top tracks. Rosenrot closes with two softer songs, Feuer und Wasser and Ein Lied. A soft ending to a lot of rocking.

    Overall, Rosenrot sounds like all the band members are having a lot of fun. Guitars range from heavy to experimental, some keyboard semi-solos recall the days of Herzeleid or Sehnsucht, and the whole time, the tracks maintain the epic sense of production value that Reise, Reise brought to the table. It’s interesting, experimental, and even bordering on awkward at times as the band stretches its musical wings- but it’s all still Rammstein through and through, and Rosenrot is a great addition to any collection.

    Posted on December 6, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Even though Rammstein released a new album only a year after their 2004 release, “Reise, Reise,” and several of the songs on “Rosenrot” are b-sides from the 2004 recording sessions, it is an unfair statement to say the new album is “Reise, Reise: Part 2.” Sure, the chugga-chugga riffs that 1998’s “Sehnsucht” had are still mostly missing, but “Rosenrot” is not nearly as dark or brooding as its predecessor. And six of the songs on here are “Reise, Reise” out-takes, but five of the songs are new, and it’s hard to tell which are which. On this, Rammstein’s fifth record, the German industrial metal machine offsets artsy songs with full-fledged rockers. “Wo Bist Du” contrasts guitar crunch with a wind instrument of some kind, and some beeping synthesizers; track six is almost a power ballad with soft strumming and female singing; and “Ein Lied” even finds a choir joining the scene. But, conversely, there is still plenty of stuff to snap your neck to. “Spring” has snarling vocals in the verses and heavy, pounding riffs in the choruses; “Zerstoren” has chug and churn guitars which almost make your speakers vibrate; and “Hilf Mir” ends with explosive riffs that take turns with cool piano playing. Two other standout tracks are “Mann Gegen Mann” and “Feuer und Wasser.” These songs make good use of a soft-loud dynamic, with restrained verses and thunderous choruses. All in all, “Rosenrot” is not Rammstein’s finest work to date, but it is yet another very solid album from a very solid band. It isn’t a mindblowing album, but it will surely satisfy and solidify a strong fan base. If you’re a fan and you can find it, definitely grab it.

    Posted on December 6, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now