RAMMSTEIN is one of the quintessential bands to emerge in the 1990s on the European metal scene and that is an indisputable fact. What metalhead worth their salt hasn’t headbanged to at least a couple of their songs? Despite singing in German, RAMMSTEIN’s brand of industrial metal captivated millions of people around the globe and made their first couple of records – 1995’s “Herzeleid” and 1997’s “Sehnsucht” – staples of the genre and established the band as a force to be reckoned with. It is, however, their third release, 2001’s “Mutter,” that is hailed as their greatest accomplishment within the heavy metal subgenres, having yielded no less than six singles. Let’s dig a bit deeper into what makes this album such a classic.
This sassy German band was gaining more and more traction with such powerful singles as “Asche zu Asche,” “Du Riechst so Gut,” “Du Hast,” or “Engel” and the metal community was hungry for more when RAMMSTEIN dropped their captivating third album in the spring of 2001. And what makes “Mutter” such an excellent release, worth revisiting time and time again, is the sheer breadth of sound that they have experimented with, which in turn gives way to a gamut of emotions and moods. The songs themselves are so individual and have such strong personalities of their own, yet they flow together incredibly well without missing a beat. And this is, in itself, the mark of tight songwriting and strong musicianship. From the grandeur and power of the symphonic infused opener, “Mein Herz Brennt,” the album only grows and expands with each track, offering new and refreshing takes on RAMMSTEIN’s trademark sound. The production value is through the roof, as everything sounds massive and engrossing, from the subtle orchestral undertones to the fat drums to the hefty guitars all the way to the electronic soundscapes.
Such numbers as “Links 2 3 4,” “Ich Will,” and “Feuer Frei” have a sort of military marching beat to them that sets them apart as being easier to headbang to, with Till Lindemann sounding very commanding with his vocals. On the other hand, “Sonne” and “Mutter” are as brooding as they are dark. Until “Ohne Dich” came along on 2004’s “Reise, Reise,” the title track was the closest the band came to writing a proper metal ballad, complete with symphonic arrangements that give it more depth and texture. It features the most emotional and fragile vocal delivery on a RAMMSTEIN song, revealing that there’s a lot more sensibility to Till Lindemann than first meets the eye and ear. The meaty guitar riff in “Sonne” makes it big and epic, especially in its chorus sections, as opposed to the quieter verses, which give it a nice ebb-and-flow type of movement. With these tracks, the band showed that they can write bangers with a more delicate nature, something that “Seemann” only hinted at before. Twisted lullaby “Spieluhr” has more of their usual electronic flurries that make for an eerie counterpoint to the children’s distorted voices in the chorus. “Rein Raus” is as catchy and fun as it is energetic, while “Zwitter” is your typical lighthearted RAMMSTEIN song with a playful vocal line that acts as a melodic hook.
Benefiting from an exceptional tracklist of heavy but accessible songs, the main merit of this album is that it opened RAMMSTEIN to mass exposure, which, besides being a great accomplishment in itself, is really something to be celebrated even years later. The reason is incredibly simple: there isn’t one word in English on the whole album. Generally, in order to achieve worldwide success, bands discard their own language and perform in English. However, RAMMSTEIN went against the tide and gained so much popularity and recognition by singing in German. In other words, “Mutter” made history and created a precedent by proving that a foreign metal band can be successful even if they are using their native language to create music. It was their own gimmick and it paid off big time. I’m sure their crazy stage antics and explosive videos also helped a lot in this respect. Music is a universal language, and RAMMSTEIN’s music is proof of this.
It’s not for nothing that “Mutter” is still regarded as one of RAMMSTEIN’s best albums to date. It offers everything one can hope for from such an extravagant metal act and then some. It’s punchy, it’s catchy and hooky, it’s heavy, it’s vibrant, it’s muscular, and above all it has great playability. It is fair to say that this album saw the band spreading their wings ready to fly. And they soared to the sun and back.
Written by Andrea Crow
- Mein Herz Brennt
- Links 2 3 4
- Ich Will
- Feuer Frei
- Rein Raus
Till Lindemann – vocals
Richard Kruspe – electric guitar
Paul Landers – electric guitar
Oliver Riedel – bass guitar
Christoph “Doom” Schneider – drums
Christian “Flake” Lorenz – keyboards
Motor and Universal Music