Updated: Mar 6
To call Till Lindemann a sick fuck is doing the Rammstein singer a disservice. Who else can make songs about cannibalism, BDSM, and wanton promiscuity sound so good, regardless of what tongue they’re sung in? As if his seven albums fronting the industrial metal titans that are Rammstein aren’t chock-full of shocking lyrical content, his 2015 solo debut Skills in Pills, which was largely sung in English, was downright filthy. With titles such as “Ladyboy” and “Praise Abort,” Till proved that his writing in English is just as absurdist and outrageous as it is in his native German.
The Leipzig-born baritone goes back to his lingual roots with his latest offering, F & M. Once again teaming with Hypocrisy and PAIN multi-instrumentalist Peter Tägtgren, Till sings predominantly in German this time around. His legendary wordplay and turns of phrase feel right at home over Tägtgren’s sluggers of guitar riffs, and the production values are incredible. Given the Swede’s track record, though, was much else to be expected?
The album opens as it should, with the urgent and purposeful “Steh auf.” There’s only so much else to say that I didn’t already when I covered the music video, but if there was any song from this disc meant to kick off a disc or a live performance, this would be it. Its follow-up, “Ich weiß es nicht,” has guitar tone that is making me seriously envious, all while the keys and synths play well with the ten-pound hammers the guitars drop with each strum. “Allesfresser” finally gets to the words of a madman, ranking right up there with tracks like “Mein Teil” and “Puppe” from Till’s work with Rammstein.
“Blut” slows things down a touch for a grander, more epic feeling, but then things come to a screeching halt with the acoustic folk-flavored “Knebel.” At least, that is, until roughly two and a half minutes in, when Till opens the floodgates with a growl that gives way to an abrupt change of tone. “Frau und Mann” has some interesting production choices when it comes to the vocals, and of all lines to get stuck in my head for something from Till Lindemann, I’m surprised that “Ai yi yi!” would be one of them, but alas, here we are.
“Ach so gern” is a head-scratcher, even by Lindemann standards. Till Lindemann is the kind of iconic voice that I could sit and listen to reading something as mundane as the phonebook, sure, but this is one is an odd man out. The piano ballad “Schlaf ein” is another unexpected one, but given the ballad “Diamant” from Rammstein’s latest LP (read our review here), I guess only so much territory can be considered uncharted by this point. For better or worse, “Gummi” comes barreling back in with some seriously low-tuned guitars (and/or extended range, either way, more please!).
The synths in “Platz Eins” glide on air, and once again intermingle with the guitars to great effect. For those wanting another ballad, fear not, as the album’s closer, “Wer weiß das schon,” is waiting at the end of the ride, at least for the standard version. For the deluxe version of the disc, we have the original cut of “Mathematik,” in which Till… raps?
Again, what the fuck is going on with this album?
To end the expanded release, there is a PAIN version of “Ach so gern,” which brings back the full, hit you with a sock full of nickels kind of guitar tones I can’t get enough of from this record.
Much like his band’s latest full-length, Lindemann takes some risks and goes places that few would have ever expected him to, given the frontman’s usual M.O. While many of the liberties taken in this release may catch some off-guard, that shouldn’t deter longtime fans from giving this album a spin. It is enough of what Lindemann is known for to keep the old-school fans interested, with enough out-there moments and chances taken to make an impression, as well as a line in the sand between Lindemann’s solo work and his band’s work.