Ten years after their last album of new material, Rammstein are back with a new LP. The untitled collection, due out on Friday, May 17, sees the German industrial metal pioneers team with Berlin-based producer Olsen Involtini, who had previously arranged the strings on 2001’s Mutter and 2004’s Reise, Reise — and played alongside the band’s guitarist Richard Kruspe in the side project, Emigrate.
After more than two decades as one of the most dynamic live acts in rock and roll, Kruspe says that the band decided to return to the studio to divert attention from their peerless showmanship and back to the songs. “For me, one of the reasons to step back into making records with Rammstein was to balance the popularity of the band as a live act with the actual music,” he told Consequence of Sound in December. “With Rammstein, people tend to talk about the fire and all the live stuff. I thought, ‘I don’t want to be another KISS,’ where people talk about makeup and stuff like that and no one talks about the music.”
Pre-production for Rammstein’s seventh studio album first began with some low stakes rehearsals and writing sessions back in 2015. “What we did in the beginning is we said, ‘Let’s get together and try to come up with three or four songs,’” Kruspe said in a recent interview with Metal Wani. “We didn’t really put any pressure on us, which was very important at this time.”
The creativity quickly started to flow as Kruspe — alongside singer Till Lindemann, bassist Oliver “Ollie” Riedel, guitarist Paul H. Landers, keyboardist Christian “Flake” Lorenz and drummer Christoph “Doom” Schneider — brainstormed upwards of 35 songs, which they ultimately whittled down to the 11 found on the final album. “While we were starting to rehearse and stuff and getting ideas, I thought, ‘Wow, it’s actually very good. Things have changed.’ All of a sudden, there’s a certain kind of respect that I always missed a little bit. We just had good chemistry, which reminded me of the first time when we started.”
When the sessions wrapped in January, Kruspe was surprised to find an album that was relied more heavily on melody than much of their past work. “We experimented a lot with certain kinds of harmony through the verses and a lot of melodic structures in the songs,” he told Kerrang. “I feel like we came up with great stuff that I wouldn’t have dreamed before could be Rammstein.”
After teasing fans for months on social media, the album was formally heralded in late March with the release of “Deutschland.” Accompanied by an epic nine-minute (NSFW) music video directed by Specter Berlin, the lead single is a sprawling — and controversial — lesson in German history, including references to the Third Reich, the Weimar Republic and the Hindenburg disaster.
The clip was the first of a planned series of five videos to accompany the album tracks. In late April they followed “Deutschland” with the retro-tinged visuals for the album’s second single, “Radio.” The stylized black and white (NSFW) video, directed by longtime collaborator Jörn Heitmann, presents a tuxedo-clad Rammstein as a 1940s big band beaming across the airwaves.
More than just a love letter to the medium, the video strikes a blow against censorship, as soldiers attempt to interrupt those listening to the radio. Eventually, they too are absorbed the power of the music as Lindemann sings the German equivalent of: “I let myself suck in the ether. My ears become eyes … so I hear what I do not see.”
“it’s almost ‘Rammstein 3D,’ is how I describe it,” Kruspe says of the finished album.
European fans can look forward to seeing the band live during their upcoming stadium trek — their first — which kicks off May 27 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany and culminates on Aug. 23 in Vienna, Austria.
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