Review Summary: Mutter MK II.
So after crushing the world and finding a sound you’re completely satisfied with, where do you go from here?
You make more of the same.
is effectively Mutter
2.0; everything from song structure to production is in the same vein as their 2001 masterpiece. Is this a bad thing? No. The band took the term “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” into the studio when they made their follow up, and made an album that puts the bands perfect soundscape on the table for a tightening here and a sharpening there.
Several aspects of Rammstein’s fourth LP have been given more of a focus than the bands other works: lyrics, choruses and atmosphere. I would go as far to say this is their most consistent release to date, and this is because the albums atmosphere remains absolutely solid; it doesn’t matter what song you’re listening to, every track conveys the same tone throughout. Reise, Reise
is also a much more concise album and this is down to lyrics not beating around the bush, saying them how they are - basically making it a controversial goldmine. Controversy is obviously found on the albums singles “Mein Teil” and “Amerika”; the former translates to “my part” and tells the tale of the Armin Meiwes case, where Armin met up with Bernd Jürgen Armando Brandes, to cut off Armando’s penis and eat it together; the latter is about America’s culture taking over the world, and starts off with the lyrics “We're all living in Amerika, Amerika ist wunderbar”, the listener eventually learns that the song is being sarcastic and that the band obviously resents the way America forces its culture onto other countries. The record has a much stronger focus on “telling a story” this time around and every song has a genuinely interesting topic laid out for the listener.
So, because the lyrics are more antagonising than ever before, it’s a good job that choruses are masterfully composed. Every single track on this LP has a memorable chorus; be it from the chugging, power driving verse of “Morgenstern” that slips into the soaring epic chorus that follows, or the likes of “Amerika” that is as lyrically subtle as a twelve gauge to the face, but so infectiously catchy, whether you hate the song or not, you can’t help but sing along. The sing along aspect of the band is so undeniably infectious on here, that every track keeps on firing out memorable chorus after chorus, all completely accessible and fun, yet ironically twisted due to the lyrical themes found within tracks.
Musically the album has more hard-hitters than ballads, but the softer tracks are some of Rammstein’s finest work to date: from the grooving acoustic track of “Los” to “Ohne dich” and the perfect way to close the album with “Amour”; chockfull of melody and beauty, before checking-out in the same way the album start: full of energy. But there really is nothing to fault with any of the tracks on here, and songs range from the band doing what they do best, to adding little ideas that push the band forward; the “Wah” solo on “Stein um Stein” is a really standout moment; the head banging verse on “Keine Lust” where Till’s vocal contributions make the track both bouncy and heavy; and all of Flake’s contributions are not only essential to the bands consistent tone on this, but songs like “Mein Teil” benefit greatly from them.
Overall, while Reise, Reise
doesn’t branch out from the sound Mutter
created, it takes the blueprint and makes it faster, stronger and more unstoppable. Lyrically it’s easily the best album they’ve done, with so many great ideas put into it, and musically there really is nothing to fault. The albums pace is never stunted and none of the tracks feel like filler. Rammstein manage to make an album that gives you the same meal, with enough of the right different ingredients to warrant it standing up as the best course they’ve ever cooked up.