Rammstein’s influence on metal is irrefutable. With each release, these industrial juggernauts have continued to fine-tune a sound unlike anything else; their distinctive, brutal approach is impossible to replicate. Latest album ‘Zeit’ further cements their position as legends, submerging you in rumbling, liminally heavy soundscapes that leave you breathless.
‘Zeit’ is ruled by its command of temporarily; literally translating to ‘Time’, this release fully takes advantage of Rammstein’s timeless sound. Rammstein tracks seem to exist entirely out of the confines of time, floating in a space impossible to pinpoint between the past and the future. Elements of nostalgia whirl within the ‘Giftig’s wobbling synthesizers, while the harrowing instrumentals of title-track ‘Zeit’ welcome in the end of days. The contrasting elements meld together flawlessly, however, the thick layering of different textures submerging you into the album’s hauntingly liminal space.
Rammstein’s theatricality is also tangible in the album’s mighty, hypnotic sound. Every track riles with a mighty, cinematic flare – you can almost imagine scenes flickering out of a projector, ghostly black and white figures twisting and morphing as tracks progress. Every track feels like a ferocious, impassioned story unfolding, element building towards a mesmerising climax. The construction, the worldbuilding, is dizzying; every second of sound melts away reality, further immersing you in the world of the release. ‘Armee der Tristen’s soundscaping truly feels like it’s welcoming you into the ‘Army Of The Sad’, rugged crowd vocals like battle cries, while ‘Schwarz’ introspective, mournful instrumentals sink you into the sorrow of the world.
Not every track wallows in a world of negativity, however. Something that can often be missed by English listeners is the sarcasm burrowed behind the sound; Rammstein’s masterfully heavy sound is often paired with critical, tongue-in-cheek assessments of society. While Till Lindemann’s deep, domineering vocals are always mighty and serious, one needs to look no further than a live performance of the group’s classic track ‘Bück Dich’ to see who Rammstein are truly like – aware of the bravado one might expect from their sound and set on turning these expectations on their head. Tracks like ‘Dick Ticken’ perfectly highlights the deeply sarcastic and critical abilities of Rammstein – the gritty guitars and domineering vocals ooze seriousness, while lyrics follow someone longing for a woman to fall giddily, dreamily in love with… but, god, of course she’s GOT to have ‘big tits’.
‘Zick Zack’ takes an equally critical stance on society, the gruelling track delving into the surreal expectations of modern beauty. Booming drums and intimidating vocals crawl down your spine, all the while Lindemann is talking about throwing ‘belly fat in the bio bin’ so that the ‘penis can now see the sun again’. Their ferocious sound isn’t restricted to ineffable, thick veils of sadness – and to believe so will result in a listener missing out a huge level of depth.
‘Zeit’ is further proof of Rammstein’s fierce command of soundscaping and ineffable heaviness. As the soundscapes shift before you, moving from thrilling bursts of drums into ethereally light choir cries, every element further sinks you into the experience. Just as grand as one would expect from the German rockers, ‘Zeit’ is a disorienting, glorious dose of Neue Deutsche Härte. Thick with charisma and a sharp sense of theatricality, this is another certified classic.
Words: Emily Swingle
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