Rammstein “Sehnsucht”


(22 Aug 1997, Slash)

Today is the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the protestant reformation. It has now been half a millennium since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church of Wittenburg.

What does this have to do with anything?
I was reading the Economist¹ and it said: “To Luther music was a divinely inspired weapon against the devil.”

That struck me as somewhat odd, having listened to the music of such artists as Glenn Danzig, Ghost and Luther’s countrymen Rammstein.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Rammstein. But they’re about as far from “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” as it’s possible to get. I love heavy industrial music and these guys are up there with the best of them. Not only do they have brutal, punishing thrash-metal guitar riffs driving the songs and great danceable beats, but this album features some of the best keyboard work I’ve ever heard. Some of the sounds had to have been placed in a time capsule because I swear they came straight from the eighties but they don’t sound dated.

And singing in German just goes to help establish their heavy metal bona fides. Is there any better language for metal than German? I love the language because no matter what you say it sounds like you’re really, really angry. The coolest thing about listening to singing in another language is being able to focus on the melody instead of the message. And from what I’ve heard, the message in most Rammstein songs is horrible.

I’m embarrassed to say the first time I’ve listened to this entire album was for this review. I still remember seeing the terrifying video for “Du Hast” which I think is still they’re biggest hit in the US, but I enjoy other tracks just as much. “Engel” has a whistled intro that makes me think of that other German metal band, The Scorpions. “Klavier” is notable as being the lone ballad on the album. Most of the other tracks blend into each other, but they all have those great vocals, driving riffs and beautiful keys.

This might not be the kind of music Luther was talking about when he used the term “divinely inspired,” but it’s not as evil as other bands Germans like… such as David Hasselhoff.

 

¹.  Anonymous. “Nailed it.” The Economist. 7 January 2017: 45. Print

 

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Original Motion Picture Soundtrack ‘The Crow’


Platinum Anniversary Album Series

Here’s my latest entry in a series on albums that still rock me 20 years after their release.

The biggest influence on my musical preference after ‘Black Hole Sun’ came from a mix up with a BMG order.

BMG AdYou see children, back in the 90’s magazines would occasionally come with advertisements for music clubs like BMG or Columbia House. The way these clubs worked was that they would send you a bunch of CD’s for a penny (plus Shipping and Handling) in exchange for a commitment from you to buy a few more CD’s at the regular club price over the next few years. I always liked the deal. Plus they would always throw in bonus deals like ‘buy this months featured selection and get 2 more free.’ The only trouble was the way they would automatically send the featured selection and you would have to send it back if you didn’t want it.

Anyway… I digress.

After receiving Mom’s permission I ordered a batch and joined the BMG music club. Because I was such a good boy I ordered mainly ‘Mother Approved’ discs. Stuff that wouldn’t ruffle too many feathers in our mobile home with paper thin walls. I remember ordering The Tractors CD for my brother (He loved their hit “Baby Likes To Rock It Like A Boogie Woogie Choo-Choo Train“) and the self titled Blues Traveler album. Somehow, whether from my sloppy handwriting or a mistake at the shipping department, I received two albums I didn’t order: Megadeth’s Youthanasia and the soundtrack to The Crow. I was going to send them back with a letter asking for the ones I originally ordered, but no one wanted to give me a ride to the post office and Vic Rattlehead clothes pinning those babes up just looked so damn cool.

The-Crow-SoundtrackOriginal Motion Picture Soundtrack The Crow (29 March 1994)

Much like the film and graphic novel it’s based upon, the soundtrack to The Crow is really fucking dark. It begins, appropriately enough, with the sounds of birds (I believe they’re seagulls) In The Cure’s “Burn.” They provide a stellar opening with their echoey guitars and single note leads.

I’ve never heard Machines of Loving Grace anywhere but on this album, but “Golgotha Temple Blues” is one of my favorites. The slinky, sliding bass line propels this song down some strange back alleys better left untrod. But I feel like a better person for exploring them.

Stone Temple Pilot’s “Big Empty” seems a bit out of place here. It’s the only song that was a hit and the only one to have appeared on another album. As such, I think it would be more appropriate to review this track along with the album Purple. which I’m not going to do here.

The cover of Joy Division’s “Dead Souls” by Nine Inch Nails is another favorite. This album really created my interest in industrial music, but it created a skewed view of the genre by giving me songs with great bass lines and screeching guitar riffs instead of computer blips and bloops.

Rage Against the Machine provide their trademarked rap-metal with some great riffs, socially conscious lyrics and… a traditional solo from Tom Morello? It’s weird to think of it, but that dude can really shred.

“Color Me Once” is by far my favorite song on this album. From the quiet single note intro to the wah drenched outro I love every second. My favorite part is the lyrics, which make absolutely no sense to me, and the way they’re sung.

From there the album goes on a downhill slide of B-sides. The only the remaining standout tracks are the dance rock “Slip Slide Melting” by For Love Not Lisa and the alterna-pop “Time Baby III” by Medicine. Other than that the songs are pretty much stock tunes that didn’t fit onto the other bands’ albums.

I’m not even really a big fan of Jane Siberry’s “It Can’t Rain All The Time” which was incorporated into the film as a song Eric Draven’s band plays. Still, the first half is so great that even if side two slouches a bit it’s still a killer album.

the-crow-soundtrack-backFor more Platinum Anniversary Albums:

Part 6: Korn-Korn

Part 5: Marilyn Manson- Portrait of an American Family

Part 4: The Summer Nationals Tour 2014 

Part 3: Hole – Live Through This

Part 2: Soundgarden – Superunknown

Part 1: Weezer – The Blue Album