Rammstein’s latest platter of tongue-in-cheek violence, Liebe Is Für Alle Da (translated: Love Is For Everyone), proves that so long as you have a singer that should be in theatre and a killer producer it’s possible to write the same songs over and over again and still be successful. The band continues along their tried and true crunching industrial demolition path, relying on their traditional “big, bigger, biggest, Rammstein” execution to grab you by the throat and drag you in. Indeed it does, with an iron fist. First three songs ‘Rammlied’, ‘Ich Tu Dir Weh’ (I’ll Hurt You’) and ‘Waidmanns Heil’ (‘Hunter’s Salute’) are predictable Rammstein anthems that succeed through larger-than-life production / engineering; nothing mindblowing but mean and intense when listened at a proper unhealthy volume. Fourth track in, however, things start to become twisted. ‘Haifisch’ (‘Shark’) sounds like it was yanked off a mid-‘80s Depeche Mode album for kids, followed by the eyebrow-raisingly brutal ‘B********’ complete with a death-vocal chorus courtesy of frontman Til Lindemann. And with each trip through the record it become increasingly apparent that this is Lindemann’s show. As heard-it-all-before as the music may seem at times, he’s able to give each song serious depth, dark or humourous or up-yours brazen. Make no mistake, unlike 10 years ago the man can sing. First single, ‘Pussy’, is a bookend to Type O Negative’s smash hit ‘My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend’, with Lindemann pulling a solid German goth version of Peter Steele while ‘Mehr’ (‘More’) and the album’s cornerstone, ‘Wiener Blut’ (‘Viennese Blood’), are worthy of musical theatre thanks to his potentially award winning magnetic performance. No question, the new material was made for the stage, Lindemann and the spotlight.
Sadly, fans that don’t understand German are missing out on an important piece of the puzzle. All the songs with the exception of ‘Pussy’ and the oddball ballad ‘Frühling In Paris’ (‘Springtime In Paris’) are sung entirely in Rammstein’s native tongue, meaning the band’s barbed sense of humour goes largely unnoticed by non-German speakers. The lyrics to ‘Haifisch’ are worthy of a children’s nursery rhyme (thus explaining the nature of the music), while ‘Wiener Blut’ is a true-life tale of a child’s abduction put to music (parent groups will have a collective fit). Add to this the usual Rammstein talk of the nasty and questionable things they’ll gladly do for love or just for fun; if you’re not laughing you’re shaking your head wondering how they get away with it.
Finally, the artwork for Liebe Ist Für Alle Da is exceptional. Never mind that the S&M Last Supper cover was enough to get it banned from the record store shelves in Germany; open it up and you wish it was triple gatefold vinyl, as it gives the music an added dimension. Whether the band is responding to the download age’s “having is better than holding” attitude currently running amok or just making things more bangable for your buck, no one can accuse Rammstein of not giving 110% to their craft.
The finest chapter yet in the Rammstein legend.