Rammstein: 'Made in Germany' - CD Review


Photo by Paul Brown

If you've been a regular reader, you've probably seen at least one article about German industrial-metal gods Rammstein, whose songs blend horror, humor and melodrama against a background of crushing beat-driven metal, best experienced through the band's apocalyptic live performances – which often pack more fire and explosions than a Michael Bay flick. Today the band has released their first retrospective collection, Made in Germany 1995-2011, which not only offers remasters of classic singles from each of the band's six full-length studio albums, but includes an expanded edition featuring seventeen remixes by artists all across the musical spectrum – we're talking everyone from Faith No More to Meshuggah to the Pet Shop Boys. Read on for an overview, as well as an update on the band's massive 2012 North American tour...

Not long after their formation in 1994, Rammstein rose to fame throughout Europe thanks to their crazed and often controversial live shows, including some amazingly explicit stage antics that got them burned in more ways than one. Despite mostly German lyrics, their music began to resonate with American audiences in the late '90s, thanks in part to their participation in the 1998 "Family Values" US tour and heavy rotation of their video "Du Hast" (which borrows its look from Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs). "Du Hast" and "Engel" are included here from the band's international hit album Sehnsucht – the band's first to score on US charts – as well as the band's first single "Du Riechst So Gut," from their debut album Herzeleid.

The bulk of Made in Germany comes from the band's subsequent two records Mutter and Reise Reise, which also contain most of the band's hottest singles (and the majority of my all-time faves), including the anthem "Links 2-3-4," the drop-tuned crushers "Keine Lust" and "Mein Teil," the intense "Ich Will," the symphonic epics "Mein Herz Brennt" and "Mutter," their famously sharp satire "Amerika" and the incredibly heavy hit "Sonne." From their 2006 release Rosenrot comes the title track and the melancholy ballad "Ohne Dich," and from their most recent studio release Liebe Ist Für Alle Da (check out our review here) we get the shockingly hilarious "Pussy" and the mega-doomy "Haifisch." The collection is rounded out with the 2011 stand-alone single "Mein Land," which proves that the band can still bring the metal after seventeen years, with the same ferociousness and humor that made them global superstars.

In case you missed it when we posted back in October, here's the official video for "Mein Land," which may look work-safe and squeaky clean at first, but remember this is the same band who released a totally X-rated clip for "Pussy," so expect some naughtiness up in here...

The expanded 2-disc edition of Made in Germany is a real find for the band's fans, because the second CD compiles all the official remixes ever made from Rammstein tracks, dating all the way back to the very first single "Du Riechst So Gut," remixed here by Mike Patton and Faith No More. Among the seventeen different remix efforts, the standouts include "Stripped" by Johan Edlund of Swedish gothic metallers Tiamat, "Mein Teil" by Pet Shop Boys (a surprising choice at first, but actually kinda cool), "Benzin" by math-metal giants Meshuggah and "Rammlied" by multi-talented artist & producer Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad).

In addition to the single and double-disc editions, Made in Germany is also available in a short-run "Super Deluxe" box set which includes all of the above plus a 240-page booklet and three DVDs comprising the band's entire video catalog (music videos and making-of featurettes) plus eight new behind-the-scenes videos. The cover art is taken from a series of plaster life masks of the band members, similar to the head castings made by makeup effects artists and mask-makers, so if you're ordering the CD online, you never know which of these guys will end up on the cover...

Much of Rammstein's international appeal comes from the way they translate epic songs like these into fiery operatic spectacle onstage, and in 2012 the band will be taking their greatest hits to North America this spring in their own unique way. Guitarist Paul Landers says the band just can't think small when it comes to put together a new tour: "It's always a major challenge for us," he said. "It starts with a tiny crew and ends up with 23 trucks. We do try to keep it minimal, but it always becomes more rather than less. It's not our fault, we're natural show-offs."

The 21-city tour will be kicking off on April 20th in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and concludes in Houston, TX on May 25th. You can get a tiny taste of the Made in Germany live experience in this preview video, which scrolls through all the venues and sounds more like an ad for a monster truck rally... come to think of it, it kinda fits the band's image, doesn't it?