November 20, 2019 Lindemann – F & M (Album Review)
The German-Swedish powerhouse duo Lindemann features two exceptional talents in one package: Till Lindemann of Rammstein alongside Peter Tägtgren, the mastermind behind the legendary Metal bands Pain and Hypocrisy. Universal Music and Vertigo Berlin deliver the pair’s sophomore release, F & M, on Friday, November 22nd, 2019.
Clearly if you are reading this you know a little something about Lindemann and Tägtgren. Collectively, the pair has released more than 25 records, has over 50 years experience in music, and has toured across the globe. Bringing all of their skills and passions together on their first release under the Lindemann moniker, 2015’s Skills in Pills, the duo presented a collection in English that reached Gold status in Germany. However, for their second offering they have chosen to change all the rules, instead crafting a diverse musical odyssey that is entirely in German.
The 11-song F & M marches into its first track “Steh auf” with a steady beat that leads to delicious synths and Lindemann’s always velvety bass vocals. What at first listen sounds like an infectious, rocking anthem that demands listeners to stand up, and kicks off the collection with massive energy, is instead a very emotional story. Stepping into the shoes of a young child with a neglectful, drug addicted mother, the vocalist pleads for her to “stand up” so that they can go outside and play. In this, due to the severe contrast of the triumphant sonics and bleak lyrics, the entire point of the track could be lost on non-German speakers who do not take the time to translate the lyrics.
Gritty, grungy synths create the base layer for “Ich weiß es nicht,” which leans much more toward Industrial Metal and the band that Lindemann is best known for. In this, it’s apt to be a favorite of Rammstein and Pain fans as the track is thick with familiarity and the killer guitar-led soundscape that both bands are beloved for. A search for self, “Ich weiß es nicht” is a perfect complement to the deeply haunting “Steh auf.”
Lindemann’s alluring bass goes soft for “Allesfresser.” Perhaps best not translated to English, the choruses pick up into something deliciously dance-able that is contrasted by the power ballad-esque “Blut.” Allowing the vocalist to soar into epic, Gothic choruses full of haunting sonics, the song perfectly bridges the gap into “Knebel.” Here, the lyrical confessions include the fact that Lindemann enjoys palm trees, the sea, and you with a gag in your mouth. Initially offering these sentiments with a simple acoustic guitar accompaniment, one cannot help but note the off-color humor of the track.
Amping it up to a dance-able pace again, the album’s namesake “Frau & Mann” goes for luscious layers of sound with an almost Rockabilly influence embedded deep in its layers. Meanwhile, a tango’s pace is set for the minimalist and intimate “Ach so gern,” allowing one to picture the duo standing on stage in a smoky basement cabaret. This all paves the way for the world’s most cinematically epic lullaby, “Schlaf ein.” Likely inspired by the 18th century German lullaby “Schlafe, mein Prinzchen, schlaf’ ein,” here the pair place their own take on the favorite and create a show-stopping moment full of stunning piano, weeping strings, and Lindemann’s passionate bass.
But do not fear that the twosome has gone soft as they explode back into synthliciousness for the sultry rubber fetishist’s theme song “Gummi.” Continuing to get their dance on, “Platz Eins” experiments with rave-worthy verses and grand cinematic choruses. While initially odd, the combination works out somehow and creates a truly catchy addition. Ultimately, the experimental collection comes to an emotional finale with the beautifully elegant piano and string ballad “Wer weiß das schon.”
However, fans who purchase the Deluxe Edition of the album on LP or Digital receive two bonus tracks: “Mathematik” and “Ach so gern (Pain version).” Drugs and algebra slither alongside one another in the former, the Trip Hop “Mathematik.” In the latter, Tägtgren places a very rocking spin on “Ach so gern” to craft a wonderfully atmospheric take on the track, one with stellar guitar work from the multi-talented musician. Unlike many bonus reinterpretations, this is actually the polar opposite of its original which evokes thoughts of ballroom dancing rather than headbanging.
On F & M, Lindemann and Tägtgren explore multiple facets of their musical personalities to deliver an eclectic collection that never sits idle or grows dull. With moments that call to mind dark, smoky basement bars and others that demand you take the dancefloor, F & M offers everything from deeply disturbing tales and haunting emotions to off-color gags (pun very much intended) and rabid feasting. Industrial Metal is certainly a catch-all categorization for the music that the duo are making, an eclectic sound profile that delves into acoustics and tangos, lullabies and Rock-n-Roll—all clad in black latex. For this, Cryptic Rock give F & M 5 of 5 stars.