Rammstein’s new album has finally arrived on Friday (17th), which marks the German industrial metal giants’ first full-length effort since 2009’s Liebe ist für alle da. A few of us at Metal Insider shared a few words on the record.
Bram Teitelman: First listen interrupted by a call and various co-workers: Sounds like Rammstein. Pretty unremarkable on first listen honestly. The band’s first album in a decade sounds like it could have come out at any point in their career, which I guess is good, but nothing really jumped out at me beyond the two songs I’d heard already. Of course, there’s a big difference between passively listening to something and actively listening, so I’ll revise my opinion after listening a bit more intently. I hope it grows on me after a few listens, but even if it somehow doesn’t, they’ll continue to be one of the best live acts ever.
Jeff Podoshen: Opening to the first track “Deutschland” is incredible. Love that 80’s vibe and that 90’s riff! It’s a great song. Second track, “Radio,” however, feels a bit played. We’ve heard that industrial sound so many times before. Generic. “Sex” isn’t bad, but isn’t anything special. “Puppe” sounds like a Shining song, but Shining does that type of music much better and bleeker.
“Weit Weg” is an obvious crowd pleaser with it’s dynamic sound. Well produced. Unfortunately it’s followed up with the painfully generic “Tattoo.”
In all, not bad. Nothing special though.
Matthew Brown: I don’t listen to much Rammstein. I know “Du Hast” and “Amerika” and that’s about it. I’ve heard from just about everyone that they’re an amazing live act, but that’s obviously not a factor here. So I don’t have much of a basis as to how good the album is compared to the rest of their discography. First impressions? It’s fine. I’m sure people will love it. “AUSLÄNDER” is catchy and bouncy and “HALLOWMANN” is groovy but, like Bram said, nothing really jumped out at me.
Zenae Zukowski: I’m at track #5, will write more after having a full listen. I’ve been thinking about Bram’s comment during my lunch break on how this album could have come out at any point in their career and I’m curious, was all of the hype worth it? If a band sounds the same 10 or thirty years later, etc. what makes it exciting? I love the new Possessed album but I’m not too excited for Tool as much as I was when Lateralus was released. To be brutally honest, I feel like they lost their spark in 2006’s 10,000 Days. Slipknot on the other hand, I thought had a great comeback in 2014, especially with “Custer.” I’d also rather hear System of A Down announce there won’t be another new album than forcing one for the sake of appeasement. For me, some of these bands are more for nostalgic value than actual music, of course, not all the time. Did you guys enjoy a Perfect Circle’s new album? Do we really like it or does it bring us back to “the good old days?” So far, I’m enjoying the new Rammstein but, I wanted to raise this question to see if anyone else feel the same way or if it’s just me.
Jeff Podoshen: I’d say I feel the same way. There isn’t really anything new here. It’s mostly the same old same old. It’s been done. I’m ok with it in the sense that if bands want to continue to put out the same record time after time, that’s totally fine (see Amon Amarth) but some fans are going to become disinterested. Of course, on the other hand, if Rammstein came out with something totally different, social media would blow up and everyone would be going bananas.
Zenae Zukowski: There is no happy medium. People love consistency (Testament, Anthrax, Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, Tool, etc.) but they also attack on consistency. On the other hand, people embrace change (Opeth, Enslaved) and others remain resentful (Metallica, Metallica, Metallica). I think the hype behind Rammstein’s new album is what made me expect more from it. At the same time I am content with the (slightly) consistent and toned down new Slipknot single, “Unsainted.” Maybe this is due to the fact that my personal taste has changed or maybe it’s because the new Rammstein fell flat.
I thought it was ironic (and funny) hearing “Du Hast” in the lyrics on the first song “Deutschland.” Other tracks I enjoyed a bit more are clumped together towards the first half of the album with “Radio,” “Zeig dich,” and “Ausländer.” Things fell flat after “Sex” and “Puppe,” as though they were just track fillers. I didn’t realize the album was complete when Spotify directed me to an older song. That was when it hit me like a ton of bricks, this isn’t their best.
However, it is an enjoyable record one worth buying and maybe it will grow on you over time.
Zach Fehl: Never been a big Rammstein fan outside of the hits and few live videos I’ve seen, and I don’t understand any German outside of the few expletives that I’ve picked up over the years, so take this for what it’s worth. Radio, Ausländer, and Puppe all stood out on first listen.
Elise Yablon: As someone who is not well versed in Rammstein’s music, I found their new album to be pretty good. I don’t know if it’s necessarily my type of music, but I don’t hate it by a long shot. It starts out with the strong 1-2 punch of singles “Deutschland” and “Radio.” Both have powerful, memorable melodies. Further than that, I kind of enjoy the passion that Till Lindemann sings with, particularly the way he emotes on “Puppe.” You also have the contrast between powerful melodies like “Deutschland” and softer ones like “Diamant” that shows the band’s range.
What I’m gleaning from everyone else’s responses is that in the scheme of Rammstein albums, this one isn’t that special. But for a band to release an album after 10 years and still sound like they did when they were steadily putting out content, than there must still be something there. There must be a reason why they felt compelled to write an album like this.
Some say that in order for an artist to stay relevant they need to be able to adjust their sound for a new audience. While that might work for Madonna, who producers have somehow made her sound like all the other female singers out there right now on her latest singles, I think that’s a harder thing to ask of a band with a particular following. It’s true that no one wants to hear the same album rehashed, but there still needs to be some level of consistency in a band’s sound to retain fans. If you don’t sound like yourself, people get pissed. Personally, it comes down to what’s genuine and what makes sense logically as a band’s sound progresses.
Bram: Jumping back in here after having listened again. Rammstein don’t make one or two listen albums. The music is what sells you, the lyrics are, of course, more or less initially indecipherable on account of the fact that they’re mostly in German. You have to put in the time and effort, and it’s going to take more than two listens to really be able to judge it on its merits. That being said, I still think that most of the album musically is just ok. Some things stick out, like the Tom Morello-esque guitar/keyboard solo on “Sex.” Perhaps it’s because “Deutschland” and “Radio” have been out for a while that they’re the catchiest songs on first listen, or maybe the album’s front-loaded. However, like Zenae said, when the album ends, it does so without fanfare, and it seems shorter and less memorable on first listen. That said, I’ll definitely still catch them live, and looking forward to seeing what they come up with performance-wise to match the songs on the album, which I may enjoy significantly more by the time that happens.