Germany - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 11 - 09/16/97
Rammstein's second album Sehnsucht went straight to number one in the
German Media Control charts this month. Finally the massive promotion and
media hype has paid off. So I had to do a review to reflect the current
state of the German rock scene. Stylistically Rammstein's sound is a
mixture of heavy metal riffs and modern electronic production methods.
The band classify their music as "Tanzmetal" (dance metal), but it's
basically a new version of the now very popular style known as
"industrial" that bands like Ministry, Nine Inch Nails or (in Germany)
Die Krupps already did in the past.
Rammstein adds a deep theatrical voice to the mix that sometimes reminds me of
Laibach. Maybe it's the association with this dubious Slovenian
band that triggers the suspicion of a fascist attitude that follows
Rammstein from the beginning. However, listening to the lyrics I can't
find any indication of fascist imagery. But they are by no means a
"politically correct" band ! Their lyrics are a stiff mixture of fairy
tale romanticism, fire mysticism, and every known sexual perversion that
anyone can imagine, such as sadomasochism and incest, and always on a level
that will be recognized and memorized easily. A play with taboos
obviously, but one can't take it serious. Rammstein is meant to be a
strange fun band.
The band's name was deliberately indiscreet taken from the city of
Ramstein where during a flight show two jets collided and crashed into the
masses. The name was sligtly altered to give the word a powerful double
meaning of "rammen" (to ram) and "stein" (stone). Their name is
significant for the band's use of words, carefully chosen double meanings
with much shock value.
The music on their new album is much more varied than on their 1995 debut
Herzeleid from which David Lynch chose two tracks for the soundtrack of
his latest movie Lost Highway. The contrast of conflicting musical
elements on this album focusses the power of the tracks even more. The
track Sehnsucht has Arabic choirs, the hit single Engel adds melodic
whistling and the sweet female angel vocals of Bobolina from the band Bobo
In White Wooden Houses. Spiel Mit Mir is full of syntetic strings and
orchestral samples. Klavier starts as a traditional folk song before
its murderous content is revealed. Strange sampled sounds are
everywhere, and the whole album has a groove.
The production is very dynamic and sharp, a necessary prerequisite for the
strange band concept to come across well. So when you have a good portion
of black humor or just like the powerful metal techno crossover, this band
is a classic and has already started a new trend of hard rocking German
acts (one from every record label). The CD comes with a neat multiple
front cover, so don't be surprised when it doesn't look exactly the same
every time around.
Copyright © 1997 Lonely Locke