Thursday, 15 December 2011

CD REVIEW! Rammstein - Made In Germany

Rammstein’s new career retrospective Made In Germany 1995–2011 finds the band at the apex of its career. The members of the Berlin-based six piece – frontman Till Lindemann, guitarists Richard Z. Kruspe and Paul H. Landers, bassist Oliver Riedel, drummer/percussionist Christoph M. Schneider, and keyboardist Flake Lorenz – share common roots in East Germany’s renegade D.I.Y. punk scene, yet after joining forces in the mid-’90s would ultimately become one of the biggest, and most controversial, rock groups in the world. The band’s name comes from both the German word for “battering ram” and a town famous as the location for an air-show demonstration accident that resulted in multiple deaths. Made In Germany is not a greatest hits album per se as much as a subjective, opinionated, potentially divisive overview of the band’s recorded legacy: it skips “Benzin,” for example, which was a #1 hit in numerous countries, and features five tracks from Mutter, Rammstein’s challenging third record whose volatile creation almost caused the band to break up. As a microcosm, however, Made In Germany… allows the listener to trace Rammstein’s evolution – from the introductory brutality of Herzeleid to the more assured, soaring production of Sehnsucht, through the slick meditations on evil and power on Mutter and the dark, heightened satire of Reise, Reise and Rosenrot, all the way to the most current Liebe Ist Für Alle Da, which found Rammstein taking all the ideas they’d explored to that point to their radical end, going farther than ever before. In a way, Made In Germany… is only part of the Rammstein story. It’s hard to divorce a song like the haunting “Engel” from its place as the closer of Rammstein’s relentlessly theatrical spectacle of a live show, where the muscled, sinewy Lindemann straps on enormous steel angel wings that erupt in a blaze of fire (Lindemann is a licensed pyrotechnician – a fact that’s almost as important to his output as an artist as his singing). Indeed, the totality of Rammstein attempts to violate all of the senses even beyond the ears – from feeling (the flesh-searing heat of the pyrotechnics is visceral at each concert) to smell (Rammstein’s debut single, “Du Riechst So Gut” – which translates to “You smell so good” – was sold in a perfumed digipak). Music is only one part of Rammstein’s legacy, but its permanent one, and that is what Made In Germany… succinctly documents: the continued, vital existence of a band polite society never wanted to exist in the first place…

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