Review Summary: Mein Herz in Flammen
Rammstein is probably the only metal band that I can (comfortably) listen to with my dad. Maybe it comes from the fact that he used to live in Germany and always had an ear for good rock music, but my dad actually got me into Rammstein, not the other way around. As a teen who listened to more and more metal music, of course I turned on Rammstein as often as I could to have something interesting to listen to with my dad. Especially ‘Mutter’ was our go to record and to this day Mein Herz Brennt
remains my favorite Rammstein song. It gave me a soft spot for the band and when ‘Liebe ist Für Alle Da’ came around, I would often talk with my dad about the songs we liked and disliked.
Yet as the years went by, so did our hope that a new album would ever see the light of day. The band members where very vocal about how much of a cluster*** it was to create ‘Liebe Ist Für Alle Da’ and for a long time it was clear that they didn’t have any intentions to re-enter the studio for a new album. Then, slowly rumors started that Rammstein where back in the studio for a new album, but nothing got confirmed until about two months before the release. In my opinion, the road to that release was expertly done. The short time between the announcement and the actual release kept the hype train from derailing and made sure that the expectations where not higher than they could hope to meet (I’m looking at you Tool). Not that there was ever any real reason to fear, because ‘Rammstein’ is a record that sits comfortably in its makers impressive discography.
Lead singles Deutschland
show the dichotomy and diversity that Rammstein are playing with. The former is classic Rammstein in the vein of ‘Mutter’ and ‘Sehnsucht’, with an infectious keyboard theme and the trademark simplistic guitar riff that gets the blood pumping. The latter is a song that you can just straight up dance to. Its Till Lindemann’s vocals that take center stage here, with a very catchy chorus that you will sing along to if you don’t watch yourself.
What Rammstein have always done better than their contemporaries (and pretty much any mainstream artist out there, come to think of it), is telling three to four minute stories. This has not changed. Every song is a self-contained tale with a specific mood and POV, which adds a lot to the overall immersion and entertainment value of the record. Was Ich Liebe
, for instance, tells us the story of a man who has been done so much wrong that the self-pity and world-loathing takes over. “What I love, has to wither. What I love, has to die (…) That I’m happy, cannot be allowed (…) because I know I will regret it” (translated of course), is sung with so much sadness and conviction that it is hard for me not to be engrossed by it.
Our German friends have never been shy of using controversial concepts and graphic imagery to get their stories across. Songs have previously been told from the eye of the incestuous kidnapper (Wiener Blut
), the baby buried alive (Spieluhr
) or the arsonist (Benzin
). This time around, we get two songs that fall under this category. First, Puppe
tells the tale of a little brother who gets locked up by his sister when she goes to work (as a prostitute). She gave him a doll to keep him company, but the little kid goes completely haywire the moment it gets dark and rips the doll to pieces. The chorus is very uncomfortable, unexpected and gives me goosebumps (though in the right or wrong way, I do not yet know), with its overly aggressive and manic vocal delivery. The pedophile child molester gets the center stage on closing song Hallomann, which sadly isn’t the strongest song on the record because it misses both a climax instrumentally and the payoff of what happens to the child. It just ends and leaves the tale unfinished, which is a shame.
Overall though, the quality of the eleven songs on ‘Rammstein’ is excellent. I feel like not a moment is wasted and every song deserves to be on the record. Some songs however, feel a bit devoid of emotion, which is all the more jarring when some of the others are so dripping with said emotion. This is a problem I luckily only have with a couple of songs, namely Sex
, Weit Weg
is an absolute banger instrumentally, so it has that going for it, but the other three are more easily forgettable. This does not, however, detract all that much from the overall enjoyment I had with ‘Rammstein’. It is an excellent addition to their discography and only time will tell how it ranks amongst the others. I’m sure that after all these years, I will again frequently talk with my dad about our likes and dislikes as the album grows and I can’t wait to see what he has to say about it.