Of all the success stories of the last 25 years, Rammstein are one of the most surprising. Yet this industrial metal band who sang almost exclusively in German busted expectations by notching up massive success on both sides of the Atlantic.
They’ve proven to be a resilient beast too, surviving fluctuating trends since 1994. With their band’s eighth album, Zeit, having dropped in April 2022, we look back on the records that built the legend.
8. Rosenrot (2005)
Originally dubbed Reise, Reise Volume Two, Rammstein’s fifth LP is a curious tome that the band didn’t even bother touring. Containing six cuts previously slated for Reise, Reise, it’s a disjointed effort glued together with some iron-clad bangers. Zerstören, Benzin and Mann gegen Mann all boast brutishly brilliant riffing synonymous with Rammstein, while Sharleen Spiteri and Bobo’s guest vocals on Stirb nicht vor mir are genuinely goosebump-inducing. Otherwise, a definite ‘fan-only’ affair.
7. Herzeleid (1995)
Now it’s just a matter of going, “So which album is less perfect?” While Herzeleid brought Rammstein into this horrible world and gave us Du riechst so gut and Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen?, their debut lacks the variety of later efforts. Still, it cemented their titanic Neue Deutsche Härte racket and proved that, despite all opposition, keyboards are cool.
6. Reise, Reise (2004)
The band could have easily just made Mutter Two but, to our merriment, decided against it. Reise, Reise expands the band’s sound beyond the confines of industrial metal; Ohne Dich and Amour are lovelorn ballads, the latter boasting a ripping guitar solo; Amerika is catchy as they come and the evil, darker-than-Dementors-at-bedtime Mein Teil documents cannibal Armin Meiwes’ disgusting exploits. Wouldn’t hear the Scorpions writing about that, eh?
5. Liebe ist für alle da (2009)
Till Lindemann bellowing, “You’ve got a pussy! I have a dick!” on Pussy is one of Liebe ist für alle da’s innumerable highlights. Elsewhere, Rammlied’s grandiose opening assured us the four-year wait was worth it, Haifisch is just as musically cheeky as Amerika and the gorgeous Frühling in Paris borrows lyrics from Édith Piaf’s Non, je ne regrette rien. Six records in and they were still surprising us.
4. Sehnsucht (1997)
The one with Du Hast on it. You know the one. Building on Herzeleid’s muscular sound, Sehnsucht delivers dollops of gothic noir alongside the usual punishment. Spiel Mit Meir’s tales of incest are laced with Flake’s perversely playful keyboard, while Klavier’s dense, epic riffing showcases a mind-set that’d be properly addressed on Mutter.
3. Rammstein (2019)
An entire decade after their previous outing, Rammstein’s seventh record flips the script. Side A is Hit City, slapping you with Deutschland, Radio and Ausländer. As soon as you get to Puppe, though, everything changes: it’s their most disturbing, unhinged song to date, and Untitled spends the next few tracks repairing the damage. Sure, they plough their usual furrow of repetitive riffs, snazzy keys and baritone hooks. They’re Rammstein. But the record’s sequencing and controlled tension make Untitled one of their very best.
2. Zeit (2022)
Born from the COVID-19 pandemic, Zeit is arguably Rammstein’s most… Rammstein-y album. Nostalgic ballads and wistful poems riposte uptempo bangers about big tits and raw-dogging; it’s sacred and profane, God and the gutter. More evenly paced than Untitled but harbouring no Deutschlands or Ausländers, it one-ups that album with both astounding consistency and fully mental curveballs. Expect autotune, hack ’n’ slack punk chords, rock ‘n’ roll licks and the most heartbreaking coda Rammstein have committed to tape. Schöner! Größer! Härter!
1. Mutter (2001)
One of the greatest industrial metal albums of all time. That’s it. It’s up there with Ministry, KMFDM and Nine Inch Nails’ best. Mutter cemented Rammstein as serious contenders, proving that Du Hast was no fluke. The album’s first half is literally just singles, even the ballad-esque title-track proving a hit; Adios blesses us with the greatest guitar line ever (2:08. You’re welcome) and Nebel eases us out, back into reality. Into safety. Mutter is Rammstein’s defining statement and a record that has yet to be bested by the band or their contemporaries.