August 2020 Feature Release - The Sphere Edition
It's now August which of course means that we'll be nominating a brand new monthly feature release for each clan. This essentially means that we're asking you to rate, review & discuss our chosen features for no other reason than because we enjoy the process & banter.
This month's feature release for The Sphere is 2004's "Reise, Reise" album from German Neue Deutsche Härte masters Rammstein. The expectations of the metal market fell heavily on the band's shoulders following the huge commercial success of the band's classic 2001 album "Mutter". How does "Reise, Reise" compare to Rammstein's previous material & where does it rank within the niche Neue Deutsche Härte subgenre overall?
Here's my review summary:
The 2004 Rammstein album Reise Reise (Reise meaning "Journey" or "Rise") is harder to tackle than a swift ninja when you're reviewing it. First, the lyrics! Most of the lyrics are performed in the band's native language German, many of which use wordplay that might be difficult to interpret what they mean, but listeners can make up what they want. It seems like a lot of Rammstein's work is overshadowed by controversial views of politics, racism, and sexism. I normally try not to venture into that territory, which is a good reason why industrial metal isn't really my thing, but there is some good powerful riffing in the epic title track and the fancy dance-y "Moskau". However, the lyrics can range from horrific ("Mein Teil") to humorous ("Keine Lust"). Yet there are strengths in the album including Till's vocals, the impressive content of the songs, and the album staying consistent, helped by only a couple songs to skip. But those skippers aren't the only weak parts of the album, it's also the lack of variety and arrangement, stick too close to their original methods instead of doing much of the experimentation. Still, this album is solid, and you can probably listen to it while taking a two-to-three day road trip by yourself. Just don't crash and you'll be fine....
Was pleasantly surprised by this. A lot more riffy than I was expecting yet also quite emotive and atmospheric also. A neglected band in my music library which I will set about rectifying off the back of this. Review up (on my iPad and too lazy to link).
I love Reise Reise. I know for a lot of people Sehnsucht or Mutter is the definitive Rammstein album, and I certainly like both of those (I listened to Mutter a lot in my late school years), but RR is pretty much a perfect Rammstein album for me. You've got big stomping energy mixed with shockingly catchy rhytms, tongue-in-cheek silliness and satire alongside unsettling moments , and even a genuinely moving piece in "Ohne Dich". There's hardly a single track here that I feel is under-developed or tend to skip.
Even though Reise Reise has become a singles Rammstein album for me, I still really enjoy it since I prefer Rammstein leaving the heavily EDM-focused bits from Sehnsucht behind. I always give Mutter the slight edge because it always felt like a more complete package and has slightly better riff quality overall, but that doesn't mean that Reise Reise has a lot of things going for it. "Reise, Reise", "Mein Teil", "Moskau", "Stein um Stein", and "Ohne dich" are the highlights for me, with the rest of the tracks either falling a bit short or being more forgettable. There are a few experiments like "Los" that really fell flat for me, but the riffs and catchy songwriting are top notch for Rammstein. This would be the last big album for them since Rosenrot has even less memorable tracks and their 2019 self-titled is a bit too safe to really hold up to this, Mutter, or Sehnsucht. Still love the heavy, booming riffs, still love the EDM flairs here and there, still love the deep German vocals, still a great album.
I don’t know much about the Neue Duetsche Harte subgenre, so I don’t have anything to say about how this record relates to that, but “Reise, Reise” is my favorite of the first four Rammstein albums. I honestly don’t like “Herzeleid“ very much, “Sehnsucht” is good but I wish it was heavier, and “Mutter” has some great moments but some cringe points as well. “Reise, Reise” is much more consistent and heavier than any of those. I can see how some might consider this record kind of monotonous, but I feel like they simply got their sound down and locked with it. I also like the keyboard sounds on this one across the board, whereas the wrong sound can kill an otherwise good song (and this definitely happens on their previous records). I pretty much get everything I want out of Rammstein here. I even like the acoustic guitars on “Los” and “Ohne Dich.” “Mein Teil” is the best though, that song is pure fucking POWER. I also really dig the female vox on “Moskau.” I don’t think I’ve seen anyone mention “Amerika” yet, which I guess is conceptually kind of cheesy but is undeniably catchy. On first listen I was leaning on giving this a 3/5 (good but not exceptional) but the more I listen to it, the more I like it so I think it deserves at least a 4/5 .