Rammstein are back with their 8th studio album, Zeit.
Like an industrial, angered version of Kraftwerk, Rammstein’s sound moves like an unstoppable machine onto the opening track, ‘Armee der Tristen’. Despite the song being effectively a militant metaphor to ‘misery loves company’ (Armee der Tristen roughly being Army of the Dreary), the pull of the song is irresistible, despite the outright depressing message. So lock step, get in line, and march with them for the rest of the album.
The same galloping, metallic pace is fired up again in ‘Giftig’. Speaking about a toxic relationship, the industrial sounds are punctuated with strange, jagged EDM tones that assimilate readily into the rhythm, offering very little release from the simmering anger the song does nothing to contain. If you’re a fan and want the more frantic songs from the album, feel free to leap straight at ‘OK’ later in the track listing, just don’t ask me to translate it for you.
The title track, ‘Zeit’, uses just enough industrial synth and guitar to keep the song from feeling too relaxed (read: the listener uncomfortable enough to pay attention throughout) and still bridging it with choral(ish) backing vocals, piano melodies and haunting vocals. It’s almost like listening to a Brechtian play, now just to find an uncomfortable chair to complete the set-up.
The album isn’t without more focussed social targets either, ‘Zick Zack’ takes a precise approach in going after cosmetic surgery. Speak German? ‘Wunderbar’ – enjoy the descriptive lyrics as they tackle the removal of foreskin, cutting away bags from the eyes, removing ribs the works. You don’t? Well I had to go through it so now you’ve read it! Lyrics aside, the song’s melody and vocal rhythm keeps a decent hold on the listener as well, so will the creepy artwork linked to the song as well.
For more odd songs about body parts – with a 180 degree turn in tone (not that it’s still not weird as anything) – listen on for ‘Dicke Titten’. Even if your German isn’t perfect you’ve probably got a solid idea what the song is about, as a clue, you can mostly ignore the first word in the title. Replete with a brassy fanfare amidst pounding bass drums, the song tells of what the singer wants from a woman.
And so to ‘Angst’. A direct translation of which might make you think that Rammstein have taken up a direct stand against racism, not so much. The video does more justice than I can here, but their apocalyptic riffs, galvanised with tearing synths and thundering drums, tells of propaganda and government control in the digital age, and seriously requires a watch. This is true even if you didn’t get on with the rest of the album.
The album feels more honed then some of their previous entries. Rammstein have managed to forge their sometimes more directionless energy into something more refined, better engineered and whilst sometimes less heavy, is still undeniably theirs.
Author: Tom, Cardiff Store