Album Review: Rammstein – Liebe Ist Für Alle Da

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    On our Top 11 Influential Minds of Industrial Metal, Til Lindemann of German industrial rock band Rammstein was placed amongst royalty like Sascha K of KMFDM, Jourgensen of Ministry, et cetera. A few people feel this was an injustice, culminating from some who believe Rammstein is a softer version of fellow German Sascha K’s powerhouse death disco catalog. The fact is, Rammstein is soft to an extent, but also meant to be more accessible to wider audiences. While KMFDM and similar outfits are an acquired taste for most, Rammstein scored big in the world market with Sehnsucht and never stopped putting up high-quality industrial rock that everyone can dig (overplaying of “Du Hast” notwithstanding). 2009’s Liebe Ist Für Alle Da is an example of one reason Rammstein leaves lasting impacts in countries whose primary languages are not German — a juxtaposition of beastly masculinity and beautiful orchestration that transcends the tongues we all speak.

    The typical set-up for Rammstein has not really changed since Sehnsucht. On Rammstein’s debut album, Herzeleid, there was far more of a metal-edged techno present, whereas 1998’s Sehnsucht displayed more prominent power chords (“Du Hast”), female backing vocalists (“Engel”, “Stirb Nicht Vor Mir”), and atmospherics (choral music in “Sehnsucht”, violins and acoustic guitar on “Tier”) that have been a staple interwoven between every heart-pounding beat released beyond that point. Also at the forefront is a Rammstein approach to themed albums — Reise, Reise was centered on Americanization and the working class, Mutter was rebellion and the search of life’s meaning, and so on. Liebe Ist Für Alle Da follows up 2006’s Rosenrot as somewhat of a counterpart, intended or not; the latter representing love lost and the anger it breeds, the former a rediscovery of love meshed with a bravado and perversion that Rammstein is well-known for.

    Liebe Ist Für Alle Da is one-third fan service, one-third Rammstein machismo, one-third refresher course with a new dynamic and presence abound, all of which becomes encapsulated in a running theme of love and beauty. Opener “Rammlied” is identified as a namedrop track, welcoming legions of fans back into the fold while introducing the band to new audiences with love and force. Tracks like “Haifisch” and “Wadmann’s Heil” revisit previous fare “Reise, Reise”, and “Feuer Frei” musically while glazing in some new textures and added double-bass vibrations. “Frühling In Paris” is a romantically-infused slow track that would feel completely out of place were it not for the encompassing of beautiful background textures glowing across the entire album as a whole. Indicative of Rammstein’s ability to be a musical chameleon when necessary (think “Feuer Und Wasser” from Rosenrot), “…Paris” starts the ball rolling on a deeper meaning rooted amongst the usual death march debris, the tongue-in-cheek perversion of initial single “Pussy”, and the title track that segues into a unique symphonic twist for Rammstein.

    The aforementioned layers come into play heavily during the final half of Liebe Ist Für Alle Da as we drift from bass-laden power chords and puffed-out chests to the equivalent of Rammstein lullabies. The album’s title loosely translates to “Love is there for everyone”, leading to more certification that Liebe Ist Für Alle Da is the polar opposite of Rosenrot in many ways thematically. One or two rehashes of past work pop up, namely in the track “Donaukinder”, which is highly reminiscent of “Mutter” musically; everything from the somber tones of the bloodstained “Roter Sand” to the restrained pummeling of “Halt” and beyond saturate the second part of Liebe Ist Für Alle Da with soundscapes of love and emotion that seemed a tad restricted in previous outings. Granted, the obvious statement would be that Til Lindemann’s vocals are not conducive to very romantic output, but that all comes down to personal taste and perspective — if one were to think of it as less like singing and more like poetic recitation, you have a dead-on win.

    As it is stated, Rammstein’s approach has not changed much over the years, though Rosenrot‘s guitar-heavy nuances hearken back to Herzeleid more so than anything else has in some time. In 2009 it seems Rammstein has attempted to flesh out orchestration which has accented the catalog post-Sehnsucht, bringing more depth, more grace to an otherwise bombastic creature in the industrial rock realm. To put it another way, Liebe Ist Für Alle Da feels more layered and complex than recent records in the Rammstein canon, not to mention it tends to pull from Rammstein’s past best resources sonically (“Mutter”, “Mein Teil”, “Engel”, et cetera). Sacrificing utter redundancy to approach a more organic sound in this band’s field is not without risk, however — identifying the gentle heart of a prowling beast lends the 50/50 chance that impact overall will be lost in the wake of sympathy. Rammstein skated gingerly toward this fine line and thankfully detoured, placing Liebe Ist Für Alle Da as a phenomenal experiment in just how creative and matured this act can really be.

    Rammstein has created a heartfelt yet sexually charged and controversial piece of work laced with usual perversion fare and the standard death march mentality on the whole. While not a stellar body as something like Reise, Reise and Herzeleid, the message sought is the message delivered, and once again Rammstein dishes out easily-digested industrial rock with more tinges of bombast and organic synths that serve to heighten the senses instead of jar them.

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    Liebe Ist Für Alle Da