Rammstein - Reise, Reise
As the maturation and evolution of Rammstein played out, Herzeleid was a raw, aggressive manifestation of collective sexual and social frustration. Next, Sehnsucht was a dense musical statement of imaginative influences and a continued thread of sexual tension. Mutter seemed to be the band's most expressive musical statement to date, an elaborate collection of melodic metal tied together with dark, emotive imagery. With Reise, Reise, Rammstein tapped into the vein of their past accomplishments and created a monster of an album, featuring both trademark lyrical and songwriting elements alongside a more technically savvy and learned group of musicians.
As the grand, sweeping melodies of the title track set the stage, it's already noticable; the drumming, the chemistry of the dual guitars, even the vocals all seem more fresh and confident. Reise, Reise, as a whole, represents a band in absolute control of their creative and technical abilities. The album's lead single, "Mein Teil" was accompanied by a particularly disturbing video. In fact, the entire music video artform had long before been one of the band's most endearing traits, and this record spawned a few great ones, including the overly catchy "Keine Lust" and the tongue-in-cheek "Amerika". The country twang of "Los" presents a vastly different soundframe for Rammstein, something they've maybe dabbled with in the past but certainly capture nicely here. "Moskau" is an extremely high-energy nod to the Russian capital, complete with female backing vocals and an interesting accordian solo. "Morgenstern" and "Stein Um Stein" are both excellent tracks, the former with it's mighty hooks and chorus, the latter with some of Till Lindemann's more primal and aggressive vocals on the record. The song, and video accompaniment for, "Ohne Dich" are absolutely beautiful, with poetic lyrics and a smooth, heartfelt melody. "Amour" slowly builds itself into one of the more impacting crescendos I've ever heard a song evolve into, and the last minute or so is something I like to point to as my absolute favorite Rammstein studio moment.
While Mutter holds a certain special place with me, and Herzeleid will always be my favorite Rammstein record for a variety of reasons, it's safe to say that Reise, Reise is the band's most proficient and varied collection of songs to date. Even now, after a couple more studio efforts, it still stands as a benchmark for the band. Without a lackluster song in the bunch, it's the album I point new fans in the immediate direction of, as it both encompasses the band's past works and present capabilities without flaw or misstep.
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