25 Years of Herzeleid
Rammstein's first album, Herzeleid, is twenty five years old this year. Being a long term Rammstein fan, I had to go back and listen to this album for the first time in a long time to see how it stands up to their newer stuff and how they've improved.
Of course this album is fantastic and at the time there wasn't really much out there that sounded the way they do. It starts out with one of my personal favorites, "Wollt Ihr Das Bett en Flammen Sehen", which suckerpunches you and captures your attention right off the bat. It's a badass song which really stands out among some of the others.
Next is "Der Meister" which I feel is a hidden gem in this album that most people forget about. It's a great song that I wish they still played live. This first album you could tell that their frontman, Till was kind of shy and he was talking more than actually singing throughout. But this song showcases a bit of what his voice can do in some slightly softer moments, and I really like his versatility.
The next three, "Du Riechst so Gut", "Asche zu Asche", and "Weisses Fleisch" are some of their better known songs that they still play live quite often. But that doesn't detract from them being phenomenal songs. Watching them play them live, even back in the day, was quite the pyrotechnic spectacle, but not anywhere near where they are today.
Halfway through the album, we get "Seemann" which is their first love ballad type song. It's beautiful and softly played, and a lot more intricate than a lot of the other tracks. It shows a lot more of Till's vocal abilities, and really showcases their bassist's skills.
After that, we get back to the heavy stuff with "Heirate Mich" and "Laichzeit" which are both again great songs. The intro to "Heirate Mich" is so ominous and creepy and builds up which is a great transition after "Seemann" and was really well thought out and done.
I then have to pause to mention the next song, "Das Alte Leid" which, is a great song that I think a lot of people don't usually mention. Until about three and a half minutes in. They add sounds of a screaming baby that annoy me so bad that I usually skip the rest of the song. I don't know what the point of including that horrible racket was, but I definitely don't like it.
Then we're on to Herzeleid, the title track, which I feel like is a song that was meant to be played live. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the studio version, but when they play it live it's a whole different animal. Like a lot of their music, when it's played live it has a lot more energy and emotion in it, and this song is a definite example of that. Especially when he's screaming "Herzeleid" right before the keyboard solo. Great song, just not super great when in the studio.
The last song on the album is "Rammstein" which was actually their first song I heard. It played on the radio when the film "Lost Highway" was coming out. I instantly fell in love with the band when I heard that song. It's got such a deep, almost sludgy, repeated guitar riff paired with very ominous sounding vocals and heavily rolled R sounds which only Till can pull off. It's an iconic and awesome song, which I feel rolls up the album well and is a great way to end.
Overall, this album is pretty good, but it's nowhere near as good as even "Sehnsucht" that came out two years later. By that point, they had developed and refined their sound, gotten Till over a lot of his shyness, and just improved overall a lot. I hadn't listened to "Herzeleid" in several years, just because they have gotten better, and because nearly all the songs can be found on later and live recorded albums. However this was a great trip into memory lane remembering hearing the album for the first time and thinking about how much they've all grown in the past 25 years. This is still a good enjoyable album, and it's great to see where they started. ~Gangis