By Brian Turk
By Drew AIles
By Taylor Boylston
By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
By Gina Tron
By Jon Solomon
On Mutter, the men of Rammstein -- Christoph Doom Schneider, Doktor Christian Lorenz, Richard Z. Kruspe-Bernstein, Paul Landers, Oliver Riedel and Lindemann -- wisely stick to their native tongue. Their Web site, Rammstein.com, offers an English translation of just one song, "Links 234," and even then, two unauthorized "suggestions" are presented in lieu of a definitive version. (Is it "Can hearts sing/Can a heart shatter" or "Can hearts speak/Can one torment a heart"? Monolinguists may never know...) Fortunately, though, uncertainty works to Rammstein's advantage. Hearing Lindemann shout "Bang! Bang!" in the midst of his otherwise incomprehensible sputtering on "Feuer Frei!" gives the proceedings an additional, well, bang! bang!
Not that the music is otherwise especially intimidating. With rare exceptions, such as the gentle introduction to the title track, which emerges as a kind of Teutonic power ballad, Rammstein specializes in Wagnerian metal that's fairly old-fashioned; its big riffs and anthemic choruses aren't all that far removed from the oeuvre of the Scorpions or Judas Priest. Moreover, the group is so unwaveringly straight-faced that accoutrements like the Mr. Roboto vocoder in "Spieluhr" seem downright riotous.
But, of course, Rammstein isn't as deadly serious as it lets on. Anyone who's seen the act's extremely theatrical concerts, which showcase more fire than The Towering Inferno, understands that despite their stern exteriors, the players are having the time of their lives. In other words, Mutter is good, clean, Germanic fun that won't push any kid off the deep end who wasn't headed there anyway.
Rest easy, moms and dads. Junior's going to be just fine.