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Rammstein: Liebe Ist Für Alle Da (Vagrant/Universal)

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With its sixth studio album, Liebe Ist Für Alle Da, Berlin's Rammstein once again delves into a morbid sonic realm of disaffection, chaos and torture with 11 industrial-metal tracks. The lyrics are in German, thank God, so you can't understand what sadistic acts vocalist Till Lindemann plans on inflicting upon female anatomy. Packaged with a multi-panel "story" courtesy of painter Eugenio Recuenco, Liebe lingers on suggestive images of pornographic horror, which presumably marks a new direction for Rammstein, who, in the past, have been more consistent than peers like Ministry and Marilyn Manson.

This time, not so much, really. "Pussy" sounds like warmed-over Manson, a fact not even a soft-core porn video by noted director Jonas Åkerlund can mask, especially with its conventional rock format and goth-pop melody. The quiet-loud-quiet formula of "Wiener Blut" feels weak compared to what Rammstein achieved with its earlier, more-raw '90s releases like Sehnsucht. With any roughness polished off by longtime producer Jacob Hellner, there's not much that grabs you by the gut.

It all seems rote until the gorgeous acoustic-guitar intro to "Frühling in Paris," a ballad that gradually evolves into a soaring stadium anthem worthy of a halftime show during a World Cup soccer match. It's unlike anything Rammstein has ever done, suggesting there are new vistas ahead for this underrated and very aggressive industrial-metal act.

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