If there’s one thing we’ve come to expect from Rammstein during their 25 year-long reign of pulverising, brimstone-scorched chaos, it’s that comfortable predictability and conformity have no place within this lawlessly pioneering unit. The absolute and concrete certainty that, whether crafting some of the most beautiful, tragically affecting symphonies known to humanity or riding atop a giant mechanical phallus spurting foam over hundreds of adoring fans, there’s no telling what game-changing move this notorious German juggernaut will make next. So one balmy April evening last month, it seemed only fitting that the famously swanky St Pancras Renaissance hotel should provide the uniquely atmospheric and intriguing backdrop for the UK press’s first tantalising taste of anticipated new record ‘Rammstein’.
Leaving the toxic and unrelenting concrete bustle of the capital far behind them, tonight’s guests are ushered into through to a reception room of grandiose and lavishly decorated proportions, its high vaulted ceilings gilded with elegant, flourishing brushstrokes and symmetries. Beyond expansive bay windows richly draped in crimson velvet, the delicate clinking of champagne glasses can be heard from the adjoining outdoor terrace as sharply-attired hotel staff proffer silver serving trays laden with exotic canapés. Yet beneath this impeccably luxurious backdrop lies a secret history steeped in political unrest and controversy. Once frequented in the late 1800s by rebellious young women seeking to enjoy a covert smoke without fear of public outcry or harassment, the Ladies’ Smoking Room remains a powerfully iconic testament to such fearlessly defiant instincts. The same lawless and irrepressible spark that’s burned relentlessly bright ever since frontman Till Lindemann and co. first lit the fuse for their incendiary brand of industrial carnage back in 1995. Tied up in the cleanly minimalist central image of a single, unlit match, the band’s latest, richly symbolic album cover of choice is one that applies only too fittingly to Rammstein’s inimitable craft – the power to violently cleanse and consume, set hearts and minds ablaze and burn with a scalding intensity like no other. Indeed, as a well-known dating agency famously once attested, it all begins with a match.
Despite capturing the blistering essence of Rammstein's famously iconic sound in its most stirringly vital and undiluted form, this intricately crafted long-player is no simple, misty-eyed homage to past glories. No, this is a record that, for all its hugely influential, landmark significance, equally bristles with creative freshness and ingenuity. Seizing instant command of the senses through expansive hunks of sinewy groove and dusky lashings of synths, deliriously energised opener ‘Deutschland’ plunges us headlong into this dizzying adrenaline fest of a long-player. Seguing seamlessly from the manic, Eurodance-laden throes of ‘Radio’ into ‘Zeig Dich’s’ explosive combo of abrasive textures and darkly swelling operatic details, genre-straddling ingenuity and aggression are here deployed to electrifying effect. Bookended with well-muscled displays of dense, violently churning riffage, this is but one example of the meticulous arrangement underpinning each turbulent, violently unpredictable composition.
But with its seamlessly assembled array of sumptuous, darkly absorbing atmospherics and weightily propulsive blasts, it’s ‘Was Ich Liebe’ that arguably finds the Germans at their most compositionally assured finest. With these battering throes unravelling into whirling spirals of mind-altering electronica, this intensely sinister number drags and compels us ever-deeper into its nightmarish depths with darkly magnetic ease. And whether sashaying through sultry, Depeche Mode-tinged lashings of synths, luxuriating in layer upon layer of stirringly evocative strings or smashing out violently obliterating bouts of pounding aggression, ‘Rammstein’ is a relentlessly entertaining and absorbing triumph for these undisputed kings of industrial metal.
The full tracklist for 'Rammstein' is as follows:
‘Was Ich Liebe’
'Rammstein' is out 17th May via Universal Music