Rammstein – Zeit
Released: Friday 29th April 2022
Till Lindemann // vocals
Richard Z. Kruspe // guitar
Paul Landers // guitar
Oliver Riedel // bass
Christian “Flake” Lorenz // keyboards
Christoph “Doom” Schneider // drums
A global pandemic absolutely sucks; no gigs, no travel, mask-wearing, getting sick, being paranoid about getting sick, the list goes on, but the one upside is that bands have been recording and releasing new material at a rapid rate. Take Rammstein, it took ten long years to release Rammstein, after Liebe Ist Fü Alle Da, and then surprise, Zeit is dropped pretty much 2 years and 11 months later, which might be a surprise, but this is Rammstein, so you take nothing for granted.
‘Armee der Tristen’ (‘Army of the Dreary’) opens the album with its electronica opening and heavy drum beat, it is a bleak atmospheric offering with its big sound and rock sensibilities, leaning more heavily on the keyboard and electronica elements than we have heard from Rammstein in a while. The song, which unifies those with a glass half full mentality, is a depressing yet bombastic tune that sets the tone of the rest of the album. First single ‘Zeit’ (‘Time) follows, stripping things back and is reminiscent of several previous ballads released by the band, where it slowly builds and layers instruments and vocals as each verse goes by before the drums and guitar riffs take center stage, then segueing into Lindemann’s haunting vocals, and finally finishing with an evocative chorus.
Maintaining the plaintive mood, ‘Schwarz’ (‘Black’) follows, and it’s about the night, and all it brings. Once again, the track, incorporates layered vocals along with pianos and strings that sit alongside the signature Rammstein drums, guitar riffs, and Lindemann’s voice. Kicking things up a notch or two, and embracing the keyboards and electronica, is ‘Giftig’ (‘Poisonous’). ‘Giftig’ is classic Rammstein, heavy and hard, an anthem to stomp along to, that is more reminiscent of the Sehnsucht era.
Second single ‘Zick Zack’ (‘Zig Zag’) is as silly and absurd as fans have come to love about Rammstein, just look at the video clip. The song about plastic surgery and society’s obsession with staying young, slim and beautiful, literally has a line that translates to “Belly fat into the organic waste bin/ Now the penis sees the sun again.” ‘OK’ opens with a church like choir, before Flake’s keyboards and the rest of the band joins in at an unrelenting pace. Another fast-paced track, each of the band members have a moment where their talent as musicians shine through, with Lander’s and Kruspe’s playful guitar riffs, Riedel’s heavy unyielding bass, Schneider’s rolling, driving drums and Lorenz’s keys underpinning and bringing the whole thing together.
‘Meine Trönen’ (‘My Tears’) deals with a familiar familial subject, mother/son relationships, in which the son is abused by his family member, in this case physically assaulted by his mother. This hard-hitting one both lyrically and musically creates an unsettling tone and builds during the chorus, due to this, it is similar, thematically and musically, to previous release ‘Mutter’. Starting with an in your face drum beat and guitar riff ‘Angst’ (‘Fear’), keeps building and building, singing about the fear of the unknown, set to the backdrop of a childhood game, with Lindemann practically snarling out the lyrics, with the coda encompassing the fear and threats through its creepy sounds and Lindemann’s vocals on the verge of breaking down.
‘Dicke Titten’ (‘Big T*ts’) also deals with a familiar subject matter for Rammstein, bodies, and like ‘Pussy’ it is musically relentless, silly, and apparently earmarked as a single. The old school brass section that opens this tune and is repeated in the bridge before the end of the song, just adds to the silliness and fun. Following is ‘Lügen’ (‘Lies’) a beautiful, melodic track with a hook that even non-German speakers could belt out at the top of their lungs. It uses autotune during parts of the chorus and verses, which I’m assuming is a comment on the lies perpetrated by so-called musicians about their vocal ability, and not a serious attempt at using this technology, because Lindemann’s distinctive bass-baritone voice is a big part of Rammstein’s appeal.
Rounding out the album is track eleven ‘Adieu’ the one that has fans speculating and worrying that this is the final album for Rammstein. It uses crowd sounds as background noise in the opening moments of the closer to create a love letter to their fans singing “Adieu, goodbye, Auf Wiedersehen/You have to go the final way alone”, which could be interpreted as an end to the album, an end to a life, or an end as a band. It’s vague, which seems to be exactly what the band is trying to create. The rumours were that the previous album was going to be the end, so until Rammstein themselves come out and say something, I am not prepared to hypothesise, no point in putting the cart before the horse, as the cliché goes.
Zeit, is a different beast from the previous self-titled release. It incorporates more electronic elements, and on a whole is less chaotic and diverse. Whilst Rammstein (2019) hit you hard with the first listen, Zeit is more subdued and holds together better. Thematically it deals with similar issues, and has the absurd and the devastating sitting alongside each other, but similar to Liebe ist Für Alle Da, it is an album that gets better with each listen. If this is the end, it’s a great way to bookend an amazing back catalogue.
Rammstein– Zeit tracklisting:
- Armee der Tristen (Army of the Dreary)
- Zeit (Time)
- Schwarz (Black)
- Giftig (Posionous)
- Zick Zack (Zig Zag)
- Meine Trönen (My Tears)
- Angst (Fear)
- Dicke Titten (Big T!ts)
- Lügen (Lies)
- Adieu (Goodbye)