YOU HAVE – had a milestone birthday. With a one-year delay, the second album by the NDH rockers will be released in the same way as it was burned into the collective world memory in 1997.
The consensus is that the third Rammstein record, MUTTER (2001), is the band’s best (exactly: Mother is the best) – a praise that was easy to say at the time, but thanks to the political commitment “Links 2 3 4” officially like this dance metal fueled by far-right controversies, without being pushed into the wrong camp or walked through by the right camp.
But if you could only leave one record by the Berliners for posterity, you would probably choose their second work. SEHNSUCHT finally meant the absolute breakthrough of the group: The lead single “Engel” entered the German charts at number twelve, climbed to number three there and made the band a case for the “Bravo Hits”.
“Keyfucker” Flake sipping a liquor from the foot of a snake-entwined dancer in the video inspired by Robert Rodriguez’ vampire stripper horror film From Dusk Till Dawn; live, singer Till Lindemann led him to “Bück dich” on a leash across the stage, where he spattered him with a huge dummy penis. With these victim roles, Flake established himself as a freaky counterpart to his muscular colleagues and thus also became a contact person for an indie audience.
What can this album do beyond records? What it’s supposed to do: make heads bang!
The “Engel” successor “Du hast” is the group’s most played live song to date. Two years after its initial release, the track ended up on the “The Matrix” soundtrack and ensured that SEHNSUCHT became the first and so far only purely German-language album to achieve platinum status in the USA. Of course, the use of the songs from the debut HERZELEID in David Lynch’s “Lost Highway” paved the way there.
Over the years, the song and phrase “Du hast” became one of the first American associations with Germany, similar to our not-so-imagined fascination with David Hasselhof. Even megastar Lizzo played the piece at her recent shows in Berlin and Hamburg. SEHNSUCHT thundered straight to number 1 in Germany as the first of all ten other albums by the band. But what can this album do beyond the records? What it’s supposed to do: make heads bang!
Till Lindemann showed he’s capable of more than barking orders over industrial riffs
An album of the heavier variety can hardly begin more effectively than with Christoph Schneider’s drum bomb chain, which lets the riff of the title track off the leash. With lines like “Longing hides like an insect / In your sleep you don’t notice that it stings you”, singer Till Lindemann showed that he is capable of more than barking orders over industrial riffs. The riff already existed in its original form in the piece “Cyber” by the old band Orgasm Death Gimmick by lead guitarist Richard Kruspe.
“Tier” also uses a template: beginning like a contemporary alternative rocker, the song’s riff, taken from the Krupps cracker “The Dawning Of Doom”, quickly splashes into the Rammstein waters, where Flake’s euphoric synth figure whips up meter-high waves . The theatrical “Spiel mit mir” reduces the aggression after the first six brawlers and leads into the bombast ballad “Klavier”.
If longing is to be preserved, it must never be satisfied
As on the previous record, “Seemann” Lindemann draws inspiration from the Bermuda triangle of love, sex and violence as a lyricist: sometimes skilful as mentioned, sometimes coarse (“She always keeps still / Because she wants to be caught”), sometimes bumpy (“Unterm Navel in the branches / Waiting for a white dream”) he works on topics such as incest, sadomasochistic practices and love murder – as I said, it only got political with the next album.
HERZELEID was re-released in 2020 for its 25th birthday – freshly mixed and provided with gimmicks in the artwork, but without acoustic bonus material. That speaks to the band’s confidence in their work. SEHNSUCHT is now being re-released with just as simple consistency – but only on the 26th anniversary. They probably didn’t want to distract from the release of the current album ZEIT last year. Apart from the remastered sound, a new, bolder and somewhat more cinematic mix of “Spiel mit mir” and previously unreleased band portraits by cover photographer Gottfried, everything is the same. If longing is to be preserved, it must never be satisfied.