Roundtable Retro Album Review: Rammstein – Herzeleid
Posted by ChristopherMammal
Release Date: 24 September, 1995
Length: 50 minutes
Genre: Industrial Metal
Studio Albums: Six; this was their debut album
WarpRider – It was their indulgence in electronica/industrial that initially turned me off from Rammstein. I gave it a go and though they had some heavy elements, it wasn’t really until Rosenrot in 2005 where I started to pay attention to the German machine. Since then, my collection of their albums has been steadily growing and my one-time attendance at a show really captivated me. It was…a show; very well done and highly entertaining. As for their debut album, I think it was more of just growing up and accepting more genre into my life is the reason I appreciate it now. Back when it was released it was all about thrash and death metal… and getting over the grunge movement. Almost 20 years later, the album still sounds a little too electronic for me, but I do like it much better than my initial attempt so long ago.
Irmelinis – There are many words I can use to describe what I think of Rammstein, most of them are normally used in a negative way; disgusting, frightening, hypnotic, freaky, uncomfortable, repulsive. In this case, I say those words with a loving, admiring tone of voice. If that makes sense. Rammstein is a unique band that has put out a good number of excellent albums filled with raw, mechanical music topped with strangely catchy choruses. The thundering electronic rhythms, almost irritatingly repetitive guitars and the singer’s deep, monotone voice aggressively throwing insulting German words at us (that’s what it feels like) are all well known features in Rammstein’s songs. From the first release, which is this one, to the last. Not much has changed in their music over the years, except for the production getting a lot better, but when you’ve found something that works so well, don’t stop doing it. This is great fun to listen to once in a while.
ChristopherMammal – In the 1990s I probably listened to more classical music than at any time since I was a pre-teen. Until I was 14 I listened to nothing but classical. One day in 1995 my son came to visit me. Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers was blasting forth (and often still does). He said, “Old man, you have to start getting with it,” and put on Herzeleid. I thought, OK, more alternative rock, ho-hum. “They use flame-throwers in the stage act,” said my son. Ho-hum. On-stage antics have never impressed me. All I want is the music.
In recent years I’ve been in a state of bliss because of the vast flowering of so many styles of metal. One of them I’ve been enjoying a lot is modern industrial metal. A couple of months ago I thought it was high time I gave Rammstein another go, starting with their debut album. To my amazement I loved it. Listening to their whole discography has become a pleasure, not merely the fulfillment of a fatherly obligation. Their music is such jolly good fun! It’s uncomplicated, musical, and it all sounds tongue-in-cheek.
The lesson I learnt from Rammstein was that it pays to revisit the old music that might not have blown you away. You may be as happily surprised as I was by how much better it sounds now.