Exactly one year ago, Lindemann of Rammstein and Peter Tägtgren founder of Hypocrisy, and PAIN, shocked their fans with the release of their first album, “Skills In Pills”. The new supergroup known as Lindemann, employs the bass vocal range of metal god Till Lindemann and the sounds of industrial metal master Peter Tägtgren to make possibly the most unique metal album of 2015. While the average metalhead is familiar with Till’s work in Rammstein, few are aware of the musical prowess that Peter boasts, to name a few bands he has worked with as a producer: Sabaton, Dimmu Borgir, Immortal, Amon Amarth, Skyfire, Children of Bodom, Amorphis and Celtic Frost. He also belongs to the aforementioned bands Hypocrisy and PAIN both of which he founded. It’s only natural that two men as talented as these two would wind up working together. Of the 11 songs on the album, three of them stood out to me the most: Cowboy, Skills In Pills, and Yukon. While several other songs caught my attention (it is pretty hard to ignore songs with names like Golden Shower or Ladyboy which are exactly like you’d think) I felt these deserved to be spotlighted the most as they felt like the true heart and soul of the album.
As the album goes, I’ll start with the title track, Skills In Pills. Telling a story of an addicts daily pill consumption, Till speaks of taking different color pills for different effects, “Grey one for my perfect sleep. Yellow for my need for pure. The blue one keeps my boner steep, I take two, just to be sure.” While delivered in Till’s traditional heavy driving delivery, one can’t help but notice the lyrics tell a rather bleak story, in the chorus he states how several things are the opposite of what they should be “All the left is right. All the black is white… All in all the rain is sun” as is life while being constantly high. As the song progresses further towards the end we hear about more kinds of pills and a repeat of the chorus with a dubstep breakdown beforehand. The final verse starts with a choir in the background while Till, instead of singing, speaks the final words “The white one, for my, whatever pain. In the end I start to cry. So I take the first again. I have a last one and I hope to die.” In an interview with Rolling Stone Till explained how the title track came to be. “In East Germany, we had no access to drugs at all. It was the socialist thing; it was totally forbidden. And even if you wanted some and you had the money, there was no access at all. So we made ourselves cocktails from pills and medications. You need skills to prepare the right cocktail” said Lindemann. Growing up in East Germany was awful, as most people would imagine, and being a creative mind like Till it’s not shocking that he would have spent most of his time cooked while living under such oppressive rule. Many people lived with severe depression during the Russian occupation of Germany and this song perfectly captures the feelings of that.
Perhaps the most unique in composition is the song Cowboy. It begins with a horse neigh (similar to that of Rammstein’s song Te Quiero Puta!) and starts right into a industrial metal synthesizer riff, accompanied by a driving guitar riff and drum beat. The song tells: “Since I was a kid I had this dream I want to be a tough guy, wide and mean Flying bullets, flying fists Born to ride and to be kissed” The cowboy was heavily glamorized in the years of Till’s youth, having grown up mostly in the 60’s and 70’s, it was our modern day equivalent of being a rockstar. Every boy wished for the freedom they had, to do as they wish, to do who they wish and go where they wish. In an interview Till said how the song came to him about how everyone wants to be a tough guy but we all grow old. Growing up in East Germany however he had a rather interesting perspective and was anti-Cowboy, seeing them for what they actually were. “Cowboy, cowboy, this is sad. Vomit in your cowboy hat. Cowboy, cowboy, what a prick. Drunken horse and shrunken dick.” The song holds a rather tinge of irony, in the respect of how Till and Peter both grew up to be ‘Cowboys’ of modern society, and how it ends with him saying “I never joined the cowboy scene, I just ride my rocking chair, hide my teeth in Tupperware.”
Possibly the most beautiful song that Till has put his hand to, Yukon is incredibly different from his normal work, with piano and an orchestra throughout, musically it stands out as the most well crafted song on the album. Rather than giving my own interpretation, here is Till’s explanation of the song from an interview with Maniacs: “I was with a close friend, I was on a canoeing trip in southern Canada and we passing the border to Alaska and we canoeing down the Yukon last summer, it was an amazing experience. In the middle of nowhere, if something was happen there is no help their passing you, you’re going to die in seconds, it was kind of dangerous but kind of really, really exciting for me so I had to write about it. It was neat.” Basically the song is a love song to the great majesty of the Yukon River, how it can be both beautiful and deadly at the same time.
While they never toured in support of the album it did incredibly well with fans of both Rammstein and Peter’s projects. Charting at number 1 in Finland and Germany, number 2 in Hungry, Sweden, the UK and the US. In Germany it has already gone Gold, having sold over 100,000 copies. While another Lindemann album or tour is long into the future, Rammstein are currently on tour, and are making one, and only one, stop into America to play Chicago Open Air. Be sure to check them out and hopefully more music will be coming soon.
Written by Coby Andrews.
All reviews have the date they were written, the album title, and the band's name, with the exception of Life Starts Now by Three Days Grace and Dear Agony by Breaking Benjamin. Those dates were guessed at, as they were written well before the website began.