Rammstein
Völkerball


4.0
excellent

Review

by Steven McMahan USER (49 Reviews)
September 6th, 2008 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Germany's biggest band puts on a great show, but it feels like it could be bit better.

What's the first thing you think of when someone mentions Germany? Unfortunately for this European country, many will recall the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. Some might think of the Berlin Wall, communism or its fall in 1989. The country's name might also bring Einstein, Mozart, Bach and other historically significant people to mind. However, any fan of industrial or heavy metal will very likely think of Rammstein.

Since 1995 this industrial outfit has been gaining more and more success, mainly from the well-known single "Du Hast" off of 1998's Sehnsucht. Controversy and even jail time time are not new to the group, and years of touring have established Rammstein as an exciting live act. There is unmistakable energy (natural considering the music they play) and onstage antics that make their live show fantastic (as well as something that I'll get to later).

Volkerball is a CD/DVD combo released last year, containing footage from three concerts in France, Japan and Russia. Over an hour of the film is from France, with only 5 live songs in Japan and a couple tracks performed in Russia. The audio CD contains 16 songs, a "compilation" of music from all three shows.

The concert in Nimes, France, is the main reason for the purchase. Filmed in a Roman amphitheater, it gets going pretty quickly with the opening sample from "Reise, Reise". One by one, the band members come out, and the concert is underway. From a sound perspective, Volkerball is near perfect. Every instrument is clear, easily heard and sounds similar to a studio recording. Till Lindemann's voice might be the highlight: his soft growls and operatic singing sound as strong as ever, only losing some of their power near the end of the concert. Onstage antics make the concert even more entertaining - Lindemann acts crazy at times and constantly "abuses" the keyboard player, who likewise acts odd throughout the concert.

Four songs into the concert, Rammstein get to what everybody's been waiting for. "Feuer Frei" translates to "Fire at Will!" in German, and before the final refrain of the song, both guitarists and Lindemann re-emerge with flame-throwers strapped to their faces. Said pyrotechnics will make appearances in 5 more songs and serve as the main attraction of the band's live show.

Being released after Rosenrot, one would expect the setlist to emphasize Rammstein's latest album. Luckily, it doesn't. In fact, there isn't one song from Rosenrot performed during the show. Any fans of said album will be disappointed, however this reviewer is pleased that their weakest album is treated as if it doesn't exist (it would be nice to have "Mann Gegen Mann" played live, however). Most of the songs on the DVD come from Reise, Reise instead, although the standouts from all three previous albums get their deserved attention.

Last of all, the editing is excellent. Unlike so many other live DVDs and music videos produced in recent times, Volkerball doesn't seem to suffer from ADD; each camera angle has a decent running time and it's not hard to understand what is happening at any one time.

With all the exciting things captured in Volkerball, it's certainly not perfect. Sans the vocalist, each member isn't really that energetic and stands in place for a good deal of the concert. This seems to reinforce the desire to watch the vocalist, however, and any lack of energy does not translate to [much] boredom for the viewer.

There are also two problematic songs performed during the concert at Nimes. "Los" sounds just fine when played in a CD player, but live the band decided to stretch it out to an extremely tedious six minutes. "Stripped" also gets strong exposure as the finale - a bad choice when it's a weak cover and Lindemann's English sounds odd. This is somewhat easy to forgive when the bass player rides out into the crowd on board an inflatable raft (a sight that's somewhat cool to watch). It would also have been nice to include more material in the other two concerts, because there's so little footage from London and France that they're barely worth mentioning.

Rammstein fans will be more than pleased with this package. Most people will be pleased as well, because the visual spectacle and onstage antics are quite interesting to watch. Volkerball could be better, though, if the whole band showed more excitement and integrated more pyrotechnics. If you're not a fan, don't get this if it's real expensive, but if you're lucky then you should enjoy it.

Final rating: ~3.8



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Comments:Add a Comment 
ninjuice
September 6th 2008


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

1. I haven't reviewed in a while and hope this doesn't suck.
2. I know the sentences are choppy, I wish they're weren't.
3. I didn't mean to submit this already, so I'll need to fix that blank.

Poet
September 6th 2008


5933 Comments


good review. I was a big Rammstein fanatic close to two years ago. I literally heard every song they ever recorded. Too bad I don't remember how half of them go now to decide how good a band they are.

Ich Will is easily my favorite song though.

bastard
September 6th 2008


3435 Comments


this really needed another review, nice job.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 6th 2008


20857 Comments


Haha. I was wondering why that blank was there Steve. Confused the hell out of me.
I was also wondering why you hadn't reviewed anything for a while. You haven't lost the touch man. This is a good descriptive review that should read well for both fans and non-fans of the band.

Hawks
September 6th 2008


35824 Comments


Rammstein has always made me want to kill myself. The only song of theirs that I enjoy a little bit is Du Hast because it cracks me up.

Digging: Engraved - Before The Tales

ninjuice
September 6th 2008


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome to see this positive feedback, thank people.

I was also wondering why you hadn't reviewed anything for a while. You haven't lost the touch man. This is a good descriptive review that should read well for both fans and non-fans of the band.

Thanks dude, I don't know what it is. I guess I wasn't "motivated" or something, idk.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 6th 2008


20857 Comments


Ahhh, we all go through those stages. Best to take a break rather than put out half-a$$ed crap.

AtavanHalen
September 6th 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

AHHH

AHH HOIIIII

Chewie
September 7th 2008


4532 Comments


these guys are the pwnage, people that are bitter about Rammstein need to get the Post- Rock out of their assholes.

Poet
September 7th 2008


5933 Comments


so people who don't like Rammstein ALL listen to Post-Rock? lol wow, learn something new everyday

marksellsuswallets
September 7th 2008


4848 Comments


Oh my gosh...that's why I dislike Rammstein! I had no idea...
Engel is a pretty great song though...

Chewie
September 7th 2008


4532 Comments


well, i find that lots of Post-Rock lovers find that anything that is a bit i dunno, "beneath them," like Rammstein, they are bitter towards them.

marksellsuswallets
September 7th 2008


4848 Comments


I don't think liking a particular genre has anything to do with disliking others. Sure, usually people who like softer music tend to shun heavier things and vice-versa, but that isn't always the case.
In all seriousness though Rammstein does have some pretty cool songs, I'm just not a fan of most of them. I'd probably buy a greatest hits type album from them though.

Chewie
September 7th 2008


4532 Comments


I dislike most of their singles, but Rosenrot and Mutter are great albums through and through.

Dragonforce89
October 31st 2009


331 Comments


AMERIKA RUULLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES

jordo246
October 5th 2010


69 Comments


they played benzin on the nimes gig which is on rosenrot and there was a london perfomance at the brixton academy....

BigBlob
June 13th 2012


1656 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"One by one, the band members come out, and the concert is underway."

What? You sure you didn't watch Live aus Berlin?

slimdaddy
December 8th 2013


428 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

One of the best live albums/films I have seen



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