Till Lindemann of Rammstein and Peter Tägtgren of Pain are back under the Lindemann banner to release their second album called ‘F & M’. Their previous effort ‘Skills in Pills’, released in 2015, was in my opinion an underrated album. Yes, a lot of the songs were similar to Rammstein and yes, the lyrics were a bit dumb but listening to the album was such a fun experience. Songs like ‘Fish On’ or ‘Praise Abort’ were bangers that stuckin my head for a long time. The lyrics for ‘Skills in Pills’ were (obviously) in English, a big departure for Till Lindemann who is mostly known for singing in German. Often when listening to new Rammstein music, I get the impression that everything needs to be perfect. Every melody is polished, every transition sounds planned and that’s what I want I listen to Rammstein. However, their early albums were a bit crazier and I thought that ‘Skills in Pills’ was offering the opportunity for Till Lindemann to rekindle that craziness.
With ‘F & M’, the duo refused once again to play it safe. They switched to German lyrics and produced a diverse album that goes from one extreme to another. It starts exactly as you would expect with the track ‘Steh auf’ (‘Stand Up’ in English). The track has a great guitar riff and synth melodies that will hook you in right away. The chorus section is excellent and the choir towards the end adds a lot of theatricality to the songs. Surprisingly enough, the album is based on the Hansel & Gretel story that Lindemann and Tägtgren adapted into a play, and that probably explains the operatic sensibility is present on every track. You can almost see the story unfold while listening to ‘F & M’. ‘Ich weiß es nicht’ has my favorite pre chorus of the whole album: it’s infectious and you automatically want to bang your head while listening to it. The riffs are strong, and the vocal melody is as catchy as it is creepy.
‘Allesfresser’ is where things start to get weird. The track starts with a hypnotic guitar melody that takes its time to develop but sets the mood for what’s to come. An explosion of synths punctuates a change of rhythm that then takes you into a completely different direction. The track suddenly starts to use a lot more electronic instruments and the vocals also jump in intensity to create a tension that culminates in a simple but effective chorus. ‘Blut’ could be considered a ballad when compared to the rest of the album. It is reminiscent of Rammstein’s ‘Mutter’ but the track has enough personality to differentiate itself. ‘Knebel’ is next and this one is probably my favorite on ‘F & M’. It starts with an acoustic riff that dances on the edge of folk music. The vocals are also toned down to fit the folk vibe. Of course, it doesn’t stay that way for the whole song: there is a complete change of tempo mid song that takes me by surprise every time I listen to the track. Till Linderman’s scream is as piercing as the riff that accompanies it. ‘Knebel’ is unique and the clip they released for it is so edgy that they had to censor a good chunk of it.
‘Ach so gern’ is another surprise on an album that seems to be full of them. This one seems to have been taken directly from the 1920’s. It’s not far from a nursery rhyme and definitely a huge contrast with the rest of the album. At this point it’s quite impossible to predict where the duo will go next but the track ‘Gummi’ brings them back to metal territory. This one could have easily been on ‘Skills in Pills’ due mostly to how fun it is. It’s big, creepy, intense but also very funny. ‘Platz Eins’ and ‘Wer weiß das schon’ are the perfect closers for this strange album. One relies heavily on the 90’s electro vibe while the other would be perfect in a musical comedy due to its operatic sections.
Even after listening to the ‘F & M’ ten to fifteen time for this review, I still want to put it back for another spin. 2019 has been a great year for Till Lindemann fans and this is just another gift on top of an already full bag of toys. Now if Lindemann could tour North America, I would be the happiest person ever.
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