Across Rammstein's new album, whether on the explosive Tattoo, in the acoustic threat that lurks in Diamant, or the punchy, electronic Weit Weg, this quality is writ large. The spine and muscles are recognisably familiar – choppy, mechanical riffs, drums like an atomic clock, Till Lindemann’s authoritative Teutonic bark that remains both cold and dripping with menace, with only the slightest flicker of difference creating a gulf of inference between the two – but it is in the subtle intelligence and wit of the album’s brain that the character of Rammstein’s creation takes shape. Was Ich Liebe, for example, starts in similar fashion to Nine Inch Nails’ Closer, before adding a wash of something not a million miles from The Beatles at their darkest. Hallomann, meanwhile, struts along on a switchblade groove and pornographic keyboard line, dripping in sleaze while also maintaining the icy, clinical superiority of a dominatrix. Throughout, Flake Lorenz’s synths are more up front than before. And when it comes to ‘how has this not happened yet?’ moments, there is a song simply called Sex – how has that not happened yet?
As ever, the enigmatic face of this unknowable band is only blurred further by the German lyrics. But a delve beneath the surface finds Till singing of escaping into music (Radio), enthusiastic rumpo around the globe (Auslander), and doing awful things to a doll (Puppe). Even with the benefit of translating the words, however, one is still very much in the dark as to what he is actually singing about, but this matters not: what it brings to the songs is a veneer of not-quite-seen menace which only amplifies the allure.