Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It shouldn't work at all. It does., 15 Dec 2008
This review is from: Herzeleid (Audio CD)
I am a music fan in my late 30s, someone who gnashed his teeth all through the 1980s with the rise of crappy stadium rock and electro-pop, someone who watched in disbelief as U2 got taken seriously, someone who smiled with relief as grunge became briefly popular but who then felt vindicated with the later canonisation of people like Mike Watt, J. Mascis and Sonic Youth, someone who confronted his own aging process by finally getting himself tattooed with the Black Flag logo. I am between generations - not old enough to be old-school punk, not young enough to be indie. I also love jazz, blues, the Second Viennese School, Beethoven, Wagner, some prog rock, Zappa, the Beatles, the Bach family and Tudor polyphony, not to mention Fela, the Klezmatics, Yasmin Levy, Rabih Abou-Khalil, John Zorn, Fred Frith, Sonny Sharrock...well, anyway, I'm fairly eclectic.

It was only recently that I felt that I ought to listen to something recorded in the last few years. Being someone who speaks German as a second language and being a fan of loud guitars, it didn't take me long to buy a Rammstein CD on spec. My hopes were not very high. I am wary of any music that is prefixed by the word "industrial".

I was very surprised to find this album hugely effective and weirdly moving. Maybe I've just spent a lot of time reading Hölderlin's poetry and looking at Caspar David Friedrich's paintings, but Rammstein have done an incredible job of translating German romanticism into heavy metal. A song like "Das Alte Leid" needs no justification other than itself - it's one of the few metal songs that will make you cry. Elsewhere, Rammstein's eponymous anthem is a very hair-raising evocation of the horrific air show disaster that gave the band its name. "Seemann" is an austere power ballad in the C.D. Friedrich tradition - it's all about standing on cliffs and being bereft.

Fine album. Great band. Pretty damn good for a bunch of spuds from the former East Germany - pretty damn good for anyone, come to that.
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