Sound — 9
You have to hand it to Rammstein the sextet has not lost its ability to shock and/or entertain after 15 years in the business. The German group known for its creepy-yet-somehow-sexy blend of industrial rock/synth pop has always proved themselves to be an awe-inspiring bunch, particularly when the intimidating Till Lindemann sets his limbs afire for the sake of a concert performance. Somehow Rammstein has found a way to keep the danger factor alive with the 6th studio album Liebe ist fr alle da, all the while proving that its musical creativity has intensified as well. Four years in the making, the new record never becomes mired in the same sound. Yes, there are quite a few songs that might have a chorus or verse driven by power chords, but there are enough other interesting nuances that things rarely get dull. And then you have a song like the first single Pussy, whichwellwe shall get to shortly.
The opening track Rammlied is the epitome of an attention grabber, with its choral-driven intro (akin to what you might hear in a movie about soul possession) that quickly explodes into chants of what else Rammstein! The music that eventually follows does weave in more of the choral aspect, but the underlying arrangement has almost a Faith No More vibe to it. Rammlied draws you in, although that's not to say any other song on the CD mimics the opener. On the contrary, Rammstein is all over the place genre-wise, which is exactly what makes Liebe ist fr alle da intriguing.
The focal point is undoubtedly vocalist Till Lindemann, who is still the epitome of German machismo. However, one of the most refreshing things about Lindemann is, regardless of the brute nature he may convey, he still is not afraid to take on a love song. Frhling in Paris is a gorgeous ballad featuring an impeccably smooth acoustic section and Lindemann delivering a sensitive, melodically pleasing vocal line. Haifisch, although not a ballad by any means (it parallels more of an 80's synth pop style), is still a far cry from industrial and Lindemann handles it effectively.
Of course, the full-on manliness of Rammstein still reigns supreme. And if I'm being completely honest, my full preference lies in the moments when the distorted guitars (played by Richard Z Kruspe and Paul H. Landers) take over and Lindemann growls diabolically. The one track on the CD that will probably garner the most attention combines the trademark masculinity, humor, and a whole lot of sex. Pussy, which is an absolute hoot of a listen (with a chorus sung in English), might also rank at the top of Rammstein's most controversial songs. The reason? Check out the music video if you dare. Wow.
Lyrics — 9
While we're on the topic of Pussy, let's just put this on the table: It's the catchiest (and most twisted) track on Liebe ist fr alle da. After random comments about a Mercedes Benz, the Autobahn, and Fahrvergngen, Lindemann gets down to business by singing, You've got a pussy; I have a dick; So, what's the problem? Let's do it quick. There are plenty of manly lyrics elsewhere, as in Waidmanns Heil (loosely translated I have been in heat for a few days; So I will hunt a naked game; And until the morning I will sit there; So that I can give (it) a sharp shot). This pretty much sums up why Rammstein has made such a name for itself. There's certain an in-your-face quality to the band's music and lyrics love em or hate em and on this record it makes for a wildly entertaining listen.
Overall Impression — 10
Rammstein has managed to remain not only true to its history on Liebe ist fr alle da, but it has shown growth in its song arrangements. Whether inserting a majestic Renaissance-like horn section at the intro of Waidmanns Heil or delivering a gritty, industrial sound in B******** (aka Bckstab or Whatever You Want), Rammstein is not afraid to stray from the traditional rock sound. This is a band that still likely won't click with those with delicate sensibilities, but that's what makes me like them all the more.