There are some musical match-ups that just feel like they were made in heaven. David Bowie teaming up with Queen for ‘Under Pressure’, the magic that occurred when Linkin Park headed to the studio with Jay-Z, now we should probably add Lindemann. This musical project (do we dare call them a band yet?) is one of those heavenly matches that saw Rammstein’s main man Till Lindemann join forces with one of the most revered industrial metal artists Peter Tagtgren…aka the man who created perfection under the alias of PAIN.
Back in 2015 Lindemann created one of the albums of the year with Skills In Pills and now that magic has been recreated with F&M, an album that may just when that ‘Album Of The Year’ gong from me in one of the strongest years of heavy music that I can recount. This is an album that not only showcases the pure music genius that is Lindemann but also an album that sees the group unafraid to tackle a variety of musical styles and somehow still end up with an absolutely perfect album.
When I say that F&M sees the band explore many different styles I don’t just mean drifting between metal styles either… this album is pretty much the kind of album that you never really know what you are going to hear from one track to another.
Part of that variety could be because six of the tracks are direct from the Hansel & Gretel musical that the band worked on together. The musical theatre style really shows through on ‘Wer Weib Das Schon (Who Knows)’ and ‘Schlaf Ein (Go To Sleep)’ and both songs also showcase the amazing vocal range of Till Lindemann. ‘Allesfresser (Omnivore)’ is also from the musical but has an almost trance-like beat to it, as are ‘Knebel (Gag)’ and Blut ‘Blood’. The former is a haunting track that goes to a whole new level when the keys kick in while the latter is almost a Nick Cave sounding folk track that suddenly contains a heavy metal twist in the middle.
The mix-up of sound and genres throughout the album does counter-act an early fear. When listening to opening track ‘Steh Auf (Stand Up)’ it does feel at times like it is going to be hard to differentiate between Lindemann and Rammstein because of Till’s unique voice. That is not so much the case though when you hear a track like ‘Ach So Gern (Oh So Much)’ with its heavy traditional European folk sound or the heavily rap and Middle-Eatern pop influenced ‘Matheatik (Mathematics)’.
Lindemann comes to its strength though with powerful tracks like ‘Ich Weib Es Nicht (I Don’t Know)’ and ‘Platz Eins (First Place)’ which are both taken to a whole new level with the strong operatic parts. Then there is ‘Frau Und Mann (Man And Woman)’ which sounds like you would expect a Rammstein/PAIN hybrid to sound while showcasing the guitar work of actor Peter Stormare.
While F&M does meander its way through a plethora of genres you could never accuse it of losing it’s way. This is more like an adventure as you stumble across new gems around each corner. The album just goes from strength to strength and shows that Lindemann are true geniuses.