After Rammstein made us wait ten years for a new studio album before the arrival of their self-titled 2019 opus, you'd be forgiven for that thinking the German metal megaweights were in no mad rush to bring us album number eight. How silly we were to try and presume anything of Rammstein; after revealing last year that another album was already on the way, the six-piece unleashed a brand new single, Zeit, earlier today, confirming that a new record of the same name would be coming next month.
More often than not, Rammstein have had a habit of trailering new albums with a big, brash, bombastic lead single, be it the driving industrial thump of Deutschland, the absurd bounce and bluster of Pussy or the punishing crunch of Mein Teil. Not this time: ever ones to catch us off-guard, Rammstein have chosen to kick off their next era with a relatively restrained, searingly poignant power ballad, albeit one that builds into a spectacular, anthemic climax.
Opening with a solitary piano line hovering over an echoey female vocal that's eventually joined by Till Lindemann's mournful croon, there isn't so much as a stroke of guitar for the better part of two minutes, no sign of percussion save the delicate, faintest of beats tapping away in the background. It's a gorgeous introduction to the song, a world away from the hard-and-heavy anthems that have defined much of Rammstein's career but certainly no wild leap into the dark from a band that gave us the delicate grace of Diamant only three years ago.
As the song builds and those unmistakable, marching guitars begin to layer in, the sense of drama grows. Till seems to be lamenting the nature of time and, perhaps, reckoning with his own mortality, pouring emotion into some wonderfully candid lyrics: 'Time, please stand still, stand still'. Before the track climaxes, we're brought back to just Till, a piano and the faintest of drumbeats, a brief moment of calm before an impassioned finale packing stomping drums, walls of melodic riffage and another burst of operatic, Sonne-esque backing vocals. It's stunning, and despite being at-odds with many of the lead singles we've seen from Rammstein over the years, you can't imagine any other band producing something quite like this.
Quite how Zeit will go down live compared to its predecessors remains to be seen, but Rammstein have never shied away from a challenge, especially when it comes to bringing their music to life onstage. As it is, this is the most unique but emotionally raw Rammstein single we've heard in quite some time. And it's excellent.
Oh, and the video is pretty epic, too. But more on that soon...
Rammstein's eight studio album, Zeit, is released April 29. They go back on tour later this year.
Rammstein 2022 Tour
May 15: Prague Airport Letnany, Czech Republic
May 16: Prague Airport Letnany, Czech Republic
May 20: Leipzig Red Bull Arena, Germany
May 21: Leipzig Red Bull Arena, Germany
May 25: Klagenfurt Wörthersee Stadion, Austria
May 26: Klagenfurt Wörthersee Stadion, Austria
May 30: Zurich Stadion Letzigrund, Switzerland
May 31: Zurich Stadion Letzigrund, Switzerland
Jun 04: Berlin Olympiastadion, Germany
Jun 05: Berlin Olympiastadion, Germany
Jun 10: Stuttgart Cannstatter Wasen, Germany
Jun 11: Stuttgart Cannstatter Wasen, Germany
Jun 14: Hamburg Volksparkstadion, Germany
Jun 15: Hamburg Volksparkstadion, Germany
Jun 18: Düsseldorf Merkur Spiel-Arena, Germany
Jun 19: Düsseldorf Merkur Spiel-Arena, Germany
Jun 22: Aarhus Ceres Park, Denmark
Jun 26: Coventry Ricoh Arena, UK
Jun 30: Cardiff Principality Stadium, UK
Jul 04: Nijmegen Goffertpark, Nertherlands
Jul 05: Nijmegen Goffertpark, Nertherlands
Jul 08: Lyon Groupama Stadium, France
Jul 09: Lyon Groupama Stadium, France
Jul 12: Turin Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino, Italy
Jul 16: Warsaw PGE Narodowy, Poland
Jul 20: Tallinn Song Festival Grounds, Estonia
Jul 24: Oslo Bjerke Travbane, Norway
Jul 29: Gothenburg Ullevi Stadium, Sweden
Jul 30: Gothenburg Ullevi Stadium, Sweden
Aug 03: Ostend Park De Nieuwe Koers, Belgium
Aug 04: Ostend Park De Nieuwe Koers, Belgium
Aug 21: Montreal Parc Jean-Drapeau, QC
Aug 27: Minneapolis U.S. Bank Stadium, MN
Aug 31: Philadelphia Lincoln Financial Field, PA
Sep 03: Chicago Soldier Field, IL
Sep 06: East Rutherford MetLife Stadium, NJ
Sep 09: Foxborough Gillette Stadium, MA
Sep 17: San Antonio Alamodome, TX
Sep 23: Los Angeles Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, CA
Sep 24: Los Angeles Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, CA
Oct 01: Mexico City Foro Sol, MX
Oct 02: Mexico City Foro Sol, MX
Oct 04: Mexico City Foro Sol, MX