The Austin Chronicle

Record Reviews

Reviewed by Christopher Gray, May 11, 2001, Music


Mutter (Republic/Universal)

Mein Gott! Every age deserves its own German techno-metal nihilists, but only ours is lucky enough to get Rammstein. When a band can get away with a line that translates into "a thousand elephants breaking out," you know they're good. It's because Rammstein really do sound like a thousand elephants breaking out. "Links 2 3 4" and "Adios" are both high-density slammers that will set paleskin pulses quickening, particularly those grown tired of waiting for Al Jourgensen to emerge from his creative coma. Opener "Mein Herz Brennt" initiates the recurrent theme of fire as it recalls Metallica's San Francisco Symphony collaboration, and the oceans of sound conjured by Mahler, Stravinsky, and Debussy. (When your heart's burning, it's painful, man.) Sometimes, the gloom is so pervasive, as on the dirge-like "Sonne," it's like suffocating in the trunk of a Volkswagen while that old guy from "Sprockets" growls Nietzche at you. "Ich Will" and "Spieluhr" fare much better, coupling ghostly melodies to rampaging drums. "Feuer Frei" is all sirens and guys yelling "bang bang" over that same beat, save the disconcertingly serene middle eight. "Mutter" is overly turgid (think "The Unforgiven" auf Deutsch), but there's way too many maximum-velocity brainbusters ("Zwitter," "Rein Raus") for it to spoil the ride. Jesus didn't build Rammstein's hot rod, BMW and Kafka did, and it smokes. Happy Mutter's Day!


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