Recording information: El Cortijo Studio, Malaga, Spain; Galaxy Studios, Belgium; Henson Studio, Los Angeles; Nucleus Studio, Berlin, Germany; Polar Studios, Stockholm, Sweden; Sonoma Mountain Studio Estate, CA; Studio Miraval, France; studios 301, Stockholm, Sweden; Teldex Studio, Berlin, Germany; Temple Studios, Malta.
With a title that sums up their admirable refusal to pander to English-speaking audiences, MADE IN GERMANY: 1995-2011 celebrates the 16-year career of Neue Deutsche H?rte outfit Rammstein, one of the few European rock bands to make any impression in both the U.K. and U.S. Spanning their six studio albums, from the synth-heavy theatrics of "Du Riechst So Gut" (from 1995 debut HERZELEID) to the glam-tinged vaudeville of "Haifisch" (from 2009's LIEBE IST F?R ALLE DA ), alongside a brand new recording ("Mein Land"), the 16-track collection certainly justifies their rather provocative reputation. "Links 2-3-4" is an aggressive statement of defiance against the allegations of fascism and Nazism that had followed them around ever since they burst onto the scene, the brooding symphonics of "Mutter" soundtracks a dark tale of a neglected son murdering his mother, while the suitably unsettling "Mein Teil" is inspired by the disturbing true story of a cannibal victim that made headlines across the band's homeland in the early noughties. However, with only the satirical take on U.S. culture of "Amerika" and their sole German number one single, the sexually charged "Pussy," making any allowances for those unfamiliar with their native tongue, the band's unique brand of industrial metal has obviously still managed to translate to audiences worldwide without relying on the shock factor. Elsewhere, the Brothers Grimm-inspired grunge of "Rosenrot," the anthemic "Sonne" (originally penned as the entrance music for boxer Vitali Klitschko), and the proggy "Keine Lust" all help to satisfy the mosh pit-inducing quota, but as evident on the Italo house leanings of "Du Hast," the Rage Against the Machine-goes-pop of "Engel," and the string-soaked power ballad "Ohne Dich," the band has never been afraid to court a more mainstream following either. The bulk of MADE IN GERMANY is undoubtedly still an acquired taste, but as an overview of the country's biggest rock export, it's a fairly representative collection and showcases them at their best. ~ Jon O'Brien