Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Rammstein: Flame Thrower Sold Separately

There is no denying the impact that Germany’s Rammstein has had on the metal/industrial scene since they released their debut album Herzeleid in 1995. They quickly caught the attention of Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and he gave the band some major exposure here in the US by including two of their songs for the David Lynch film Lost Highway. Their breakthrough album Sehnsucht was released in 1997 and their worldwide hit “Du hast”.

Over the span of sixteen years, Rammstein have become huge superstars in their native land of Germany releasing platinum album after platinum album. Their live shows are the stuff that legends are made of. The over the top theatrics including tons of fire, guitars that shoot sparks and gloves that shoot fireworks have attracted a huge following. With a show like that, there’s no wonder their shows here in the US constantly sellout even with limited “commercial” success here.

So, here we are sixteen years after their debut and a career retrospective is finally being issued by their label. It’s entitled Made in Germany 1995-2011 and it is being released in three forms. There’s the single disc containing sixteen tracks, the deluxe disc containing an extra disc of seventeen remixes and a super deluxe edition with discs plus all the band’s music videos and a 240 page book all encased in a steel box.

The main disc contains an interesting mix of songs. Whenever a “best of” collection is issued on a band that has been around as long as Rammstein has, then there will be those who complain that certain songs are missing. First, let’s look at the obvious choices that did make it to the disc. “Du hust” is here as well as “Amerika” and “Mein Teil”. So, what about the fan favorites that were excluded? Well, “Benzin” and “Mann Gegen Mann” and Das Modell” are missing. One of the most puzzling omissions is the song “Feuer Frei” which was featured in the movie xXx starring Vin Diesel in which the band was shown performing live.

The remixes on disc two include efforts from Faith No More on “Du Riechst So Gut 98”, the Pet Shop Boys on “Mein Teil”, Devin Townsend Project on “Rammlied” and Meshuggah on “Benzin”. Some of the remixes do not stray too far from the originals feel while others, the Devin Townsend Project, are comical. I am usually not a fan of remixes, but I will have to admit that a few really caught my ear. Laibach’s remix of “Ohne Dich” and the Sono remix of “Mutter” as very interesting efforts.

Rammstein is one of those bands that has to be seen live to truly appreciate the power and energy that their songs empower. Lead singer Till Lindemann was born to front this band. His voice is so powerful and unique and brings so much to the songs that he writes. Who cares if almost all the lyrics are in German? It’s so easy to get swept away by the music and energy that you almost forget that you can’t sing along to them!

Overall, this retrospective is really good and especially for the casual fan who wants a compilation that spans their career. As far as the die-hard fans, well it may come up a little short for them. I think most of those fans have everything included here. Well, unless they want to fork over the big bucks for the super deluxe version; flamethrower is not included.

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