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    Mon, 15 Nov 2004 16:25:38

    Album Reviews: REISE, REISE by Rammstein

    Because of Rammstein's considerable popularity in its native Germany, as well as in Austria and Scandinavia, there has always been a larger-than-life, multinational scope to its heroically over-the-top metal. The drama inherent to the band’s music lends itself well to a trans-national gothic imagination that incorporates elements of mythology, the horrors of war, the inhumanity of industrialization, and straight ahead, ballsy hard rock. Even to American audiences, this all comes across pretty clearly, despite the fact that songs are sung primarily in German. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that these guys, unwittingly or not, are received here in the States with the same reductive delight as the ‘90s Saturday Night Live sketch “Sprockets.”

    The theatricality of it all has not waned a bit on Reise, Reise, as the vocal choir at the opening of "Morgenstern" and the proletarian roar of masses in "Moskau" attest. Where Rammstein makes progress on this album is in the growing subtlety of its traditionally harsh tools. A band that was once content to grind out a relentless mix of industrial tempos and death metal aggression now prefers to explore the prog rock tendencies that have always been there. Synthesizers soar throughout, while strings accompany characteristically chugging guitars and pounding drum fills, and a full half of the songs here fall into ballad-to-mid-tempo range. In addition to being mostly in German, lyrics also appear in the booklet in Russian and English in reference to song-specific themes ("Amerika," "Moskau"), but also to underline this band’s increasingly global presence. While this album won’t make the members of Rammstein superstars in America, the myth continues to grow. - Cory O'Malley

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