Sound — 6
Lindemann is the side-project of Rammstein frontman Till Lindemann. It started when he and Peter Tägtgren of Hypocrisy and Pain wrote a couple of songs together before deciding that a full album was warranted. The result of this collaboration, entitled "Skills in Pills," has charted well in Europe during the first few weeks of its release, likely due to the overwhelming popularity of Rammstein there.
Considering the source of this album, it comes as no surprise that its sound is similar to that of Rammstein's trademark industrial metal. In fact, the largest difference between this and a Rammstein album is the language of the lyrics; Lindemann uses English here, but primarily uses German with Rammstein.
Of the few musical differences, the largest is the role of the synthesizers. While the entire album remains industrial, the synths maintain a continual melody, which provides a nice base for the vocals. They also create a softer vibe that sounds, metaphorically, like gears turning instead of hammers smashing. It comes near to KMFDM's but remains more condensed and focused, not nearly as eclectic.
Every couple of songs, maybe three or four times, there is a killer guitar riff, but that is the full extent of the guitar work. Other than these few times, the guitar does not play a major role on the album, relegated to supporting the synths while given no opportunity to shine with a guitar solo. In addition, the guitar tone is thin, fuzzy, and raspy, though this does help the it stand out more. For guitar work, the best song is "Fish On."
One problem with this synth-chord driven sound is that none of the songs stand out; any one song would give a good idea of how the rest of the album sounds. This is a double-edged sword because most people will either immediately love or hate this album. Well, actually, there is a third edge to this sound in that Lindemann's style is softer than Rammstein's, and therefore more accessible. All of the choruses are catchy, though this gets old after a while. On the bright side, the hard-hitting, electronic sounding drums nicely contrast the softness of the synths. On the other hand, the guitars are inevitably marginalized by this approach and the trade-off is obvious. The theme here is that there is a good deal of conflict in Lindemann's sound despite its singularity.
Lyrics — 4
Till Lindemann's vocals are the undoubted focus of this album. The music sets up the vocals so that they are always the center of attention. They were also what I was most excited to hear coming in because I knew he would experiment with English and because I respect his Rammstein vocals a great deal (though, admittedly, I don't know at all how to translate the German).
Much to my disappointment, the vocals on this album are weak. Lindemann's trademark deep, testosterone-filled voice is still there, but the melodies are so repetitive that they get boring regardless of how catchy they are. Every song seems to have the same melody and this wears the album out rather quickly.
Lindemann sings with a clear voice and excellent pronunciation. However, this just leads to a further collapse due to how horrible the lyrics are. With his lyrics, Lindemann fails on two fronts.
First, the lyrics are plainly sexist, and sometimes disgusting. Most of the album deals with sex, which isn't a problem in and of itself. The problem is when he writes a song dedicated to the idea that having unprotected sex is okay because abortion is always an option (offensive). "Golden Shower" is also the only song I know where having sex sounds repulsive (yet it tries to sound sexy). Writing about sex has always been about pushing the envelope, but there is a way to do it tastefully, to make it risqué instead of disgusting, and Lindemann falls flat. There is also a way to write about sex where the listener laughs (Steel Panther) or feels redemption due to how the lyrics p-ss off parents/the mainstream. Lindemann falls short here too; he just sounds perverted.
The second problem with his lyrics, probably influencing the first problem, is that Till Lindemann evidently does not have a firm grasp of the English language. He uses mainly one-syllable words and simple verse constructions that feel like an elementary school student wrote them. Again, there is a way to mix idioms, allusions, and cheap rhymes to make something that sounds edgy, but Lindemann doesn't seem to know how. His lyrics come across far too bluntly, which emphasizes what appears to be the seriousness of his oftentimes ludicrous lyrics.
Overall Impression — 5
Overall, this is unfortunately a forgettable effort by a forgettable side project. It will most likely appeal to Rammstein fans, but I cannot imagine the casual listener latching onto this album. The choruses are catchy but redundant and the music is unified but bland. The album's final hope was Till Lindemann's vocals but these failed to impress. At the end of the day, just makes the completion of a new Rammstein album all the more urgent.