Existential crises are something we all grapple with from time to time. That’s likely why the title track of Rammstein’s 8th album “Zeit” resonates so heavily with so many. “Zeit“, the first promotional single of the album, contains lyrics that awaken the question if Rammstein as a collective as well as its individual members are currently in the throes of some existential woes. On one hand, it appears that they have no reason to be, since the group’s previous self-titled effort from 2019 was hailed by fans and critics alike as a potent and triumphant return from a 10-year recording hiatus. On the other, Rammstein as a band has been around for 28 years and with members all in their fifties, questions regarding existence and its passing would be quite understandable and timely indeed. With that in mind, let’s all take a leap into the stream of “Zeit” and see where it carries us.
The first three tracks of the album are strikingly similar in their tempo and style. “Armee der Tristen“, despite its relatively short length, invites the listener on a journey with slowly and ominously rumbling vocals and synths. “Zeit” is a bit more meandering and careful in its build-up, culminating to a melodic high point with Lindemann singing “Ein jeder kennt, Den perfekten Moment”. “Schwarz” boasts a majestic chorus and pleasantly airy keyboards in the c-part. Even though the first three songs are fine on their own, listening through them one after the other is a bit tiring due to their similarity. Relief comes in the form of “Giftig” and “Zick Zack“, a duo that kicks the record to another gear with their pummeling rhythms so typical of Rammstein. The latter especially contains a delightfully soaring chorus whose melody nevertheless sounds eerily familiar.
“OK” and “Dicke Titten” contain some of the signature Rammstein humor most of us have come to know and love over the years. The former brought a smile to my face upon first listening as I imagined fans’ reactions to learning what the title is short for, even though the track itself is unlikely to end up as a future Rammstein classic. “Dicke Titten” impresses with more ambitious instrumentation that made an impact already on the first spin. “Meine Tränen” takes its place among the cream of the album’s crop, even though it does so by borrowing heavily from an earlier Rammstein classic by the name of “Mutter“. “Angst” is easy to imagine as a future live hit, with the rhythmically catchy pre-chorus and the instantly recognizable Rammstein riffing. “Lugen” starts off as a subdued ballad driven by Lindemann and keyboardist Christian Lorenz, and towards the end the song reaches for equally epic heights as 2004’s “Ohne Dich“. “Adieu” is an apt send-off for the album, the title and lyrics of course leading to speculation about the band’s future and naturally leaving the questions unanswered.
“Zeit” is a powerful show of continuous competence from the German metal veterans. The eleven new tracks and 44 minutes of music make for a mostly well thought-out story arc, with enough highs and lows as well as thrills and chills to justify its existence. The album represents time well spent for a band who, like so many others, were forced to cut their previous album cycle short and enter a prolonged touring break. “Zeit” is an album with which the band and their fans alike can confidently head towards the upcoming tour dates for 2022 – and beyond.