I prefer my reviews to be serious and informative. ‘First Impressions’ allow for a more director’s commentary approach. I can be silly and talk bollox, or make points that only a handful of people will understand. Usually I will deliver insights into my history with similar music as well as into how my mind works and how both of these things change over time. You will have to either possess a fairly detailed understanding of Rock and Metal history and Subgenre conventions or have a second tab open at Wikipedia to fully follow every single point that I make, but don’t let that put you off…I’m not honestly expecting you to know every single riff or tone I’ll point out off by heart.
If you want your own First Impressions article done, just suggest it in the comments. I’ll give anything a shot.
So. Rammstein. Their genre would be Industrial Metal I guess.
My experience with Industrial is pretty minimal I’ll admit. I don’t know ANY Industrial Music outside of metal, no Throbbing Gristle or whatever. I’m not well versed in Skinny Puppy. I am unsure of who actually is an Industrial Metal band, since every band I’ve seen associated with it, such as Marilyn Manson, is often called ‘not really an Industrial band. Its kind of like, Industrial is more of a feel than a genre.
Loads of bands from other scenes, like Fear Factory, Spineshank, Powerman 5000 etc have an industrial tinge. I’ve heard that. I’ve heard Morbid Angel add a bit on their new album. I’ve heard Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson who are both said to be too unique and not really industrial. I’ve heard five or six Rob Zombie and White Zombie songs, but it always sounded more like Nu Metal to my untrained ear.
I have heard three Ministry albums, maybe one KMFDM song, and then two Rammstein albums.
When Rammstein started to break big in the UK, especially when ‘Sonne’ was their newest single, I got into the band. I bought ‘Mutter,’ and a ‘Sesnucht’ which I liked a bit, I listened to them fairly often for about a year but I kind of give up on them altogether after that. Not because they were bad, but just because I hadn’t got any interest in them anymore. I never tried any of their newer albums, I saw the singles on music TV but they didn’t make me want to explore any further.
I always wanted to get ‘Live Aus Berlin’ but never got around to it. Although, I’ve just received it as a gift this week (Glory be to Magnum) along with most of Rammstein’s back catalogue. So now begins a big binge on Rammstein.
I’ve been asked to do a First Impressions on their 1995 debut album Herzeleid, or as I’ve always assumed it was called because I never took the time to actually look at the title, ‘Hertz Field.’
The album begins with ‘Wollt Ihr Das Bett In Flammen Sehen’ Its got a decent, kind of heavy riff. Its mid-tempo, and its kind of repetitive and hypnotic. The chorus is fun though, they sing the band name and the drumming changes pattern. At the three minute mark, it gets exciting. The song has a lot more umph. They do one of my favourite things in music, where the vocals continue going for about two seconds after all other music has been silenced. The fact that the drummer adds double kicks briefly at the end really makes it conclude perfectly. Good song.
The next song, ‘Der Meister’ bangs through the speakers with a very Dave Mustaine sounding riff, but then when the rest of the music comes in it couldn’t sound further from Megadeth. Some of the little touches are great. The bit with double-kicks sounds great and the very reverby simple drum fill which follows is gigantic, Bon Jovi worthy stuff. It was built for giant stadiums.
The song is a lot more diverse than the previous one. Its got a bit more going on. A weirder structure, Melodic parts and very videogame sounding keys. The drummer reminds me a lot of Powerman 5000 at times. Something about the production of the hi-hat. Again, very satisfying ending.
Next up, ‘Weisse Fleish’ which has an amazingly uplifting main riff, does more of that epic-stadium-simple-fill stuff. I notice, that it already has three stars in my iTunes, which means it must’ve come on during a shuffle-session at some stage and impressed me enough to get stars (so, second impression here, really). He does the singing over silence thing again. There’s a brilliant little solo and an extended version of what has to now be my favourite drum fill ever.
‘Asche Zu Asche’ is catchy as a bastard. It sounds like a computer game about Anthrax. Its main riff sounds like somebody trying to make Scott Ian fight Kung Lao. The bits when the wrist-riff isn’t going remind me a bit of Disturbed’s ‘The Game’ (which is a decent song, I heard it again recently after ignoring the band for about seven years). It has a Keyboard driven section that sounds like Super Metroid. Followed by a bit that sounds like 80s King Crimson. I think it goes on about 30 seconds too long, but it’s a very enjoyable song.
‘Seemann’ comes in next. It’s a bit of a change in direction. It reminds me a hel of a lot of modern Radiohead. I’ve never heard Till use that particular voice before, not even in other more ballady tracks. The songs reminds me of a little wooden row boat, on a sleepy riverbank full of chunky puppet moles in gas masks and evening jackets, shot in the style of ‘La Voyage Sur La Lune’ or whatever that film was called. I love how understated it is. Its kind of like the spider-man-is-having-me-for-dinner-tonight song that The Cure sing in the emotion it evokes from me. It sounds like a remorseful cannibal, who is in tears because he killed his best friend to survive, but knows it was the right thing to do because he’s the only one who can get the antidote to the public and save the world.
Next up – ‘Du Riechst So Gut’ which sounds Robotic. Its very much what you’d imagine Rammstein to sound like if you saw a picture of them and read a little informative description on their style. It has a kind of musical feel. It seems like a passage in a musical. Except not awful. Apart from one great keyboard section, its probably the least exciting song on the album so far. Not because its bad, but just because everything which preceded it was so good. The chorus however, is a good reminder of how Rammstein are a lot less less-dimensional than I give them credit for in my memory-thumbnail.
‘Das Alte Leid’ comes in next, it reminds me a bit of ‘We Live No More’ by Black Label Society in its tempo and drumbeat. It takes a while to get going, but it fulfills its potential by the end. The guitar solo is very low in the mix.
‘Heirate Mich’ sounds like preparation in a film. It sounds like it would play in the background of an advert for an action-movie-week on Sky TV. It has a guitar solo. That means I like it.
‘Herzeleid’ is pretty basic, but it has a lot of character in the little touches. The keyboard solo reminds me of the safe-calm-mood music from Final Fantasy 10, and there’s a variation of the main riff that reminds me of Shinobi on the Megadrive. The solo has a lot of Zack Wylde/Dime character to it.
‘Laichzeit’ brings back some speed after a notable dip. Its very catchy. Its very Megadrive. Till’s vocals have a lot of personality. The rhythm of the key-punches is the same rhythm as the vocal pattern from that pop song that goes ‘I need some hot stuff baby this evening’ (Specifically, ‘I need some hot stuff’). Some of the hanging keys sound like a Ghost castle in a videogame. Its one of the better songs on the record and the best thing since ‘Seemann.’
The album ends with the song ‘Rammstein.’ Its very slow and sinister. It reinds me of an evil dentist. The lead guitar reminds me of Load-era Kirk Hammet.
And that’s the album over.
Umm. It was pretty good. Nothing much I can say about it in terms of negatives… some of the songs are about thirty seconds too long. It tailed off a bit towards the end. But overall, very good album.
Sorry, I’ve ran out of things to say about it. Goodbye.