10 years may seem like a long time to wait between albums, but as one of the most widely acclaimed bands to emerge from Germany (certainly the most successful in the style referred to as Neue Deutsch Härte), Rammstein seems determined to make it worth our while. With numerous tours and side projects undertaken in the interim, the future of the industrial/metal sextet had been the subject of much speculation among audiences, with the band members even hinting at the possibility of this being the group’s final offering; of course, whether that is the case remains to be seen, but when the “Deutschland” single was unveiled prior to the untitled record’s ultimate release, complete with an epic music video treatment, it seemed clear that Rammstein was making quite a show of things… but that’s also in keeping with the band’s style, full of pomp, grandiosity, and bombast. This song alone seems to encompass all of Rammstein’s artistic, musical, and even sociocultural history in a flurry of violent synths, lamenting pianos, punishing guitars, and majestic vocals. Then we have “Radio,” whose main keyboard refrain can’t help but to recall that of what remains the band’s biggest hit, “Du Hast,” but also filled with infectious pop hooks that seem to reference early Kraftwerk, while the multilingual and downright catchy chorus of “Ausländer” does not belie the song’s lyrical irony, the staccato beats and riffs bearing all the signatures of Rammstein’s greatest moments. The same can be said for the all-too-brief ballad “Diamant,” the strumming bass recalling the bittersweet tone of an early track like “Seemann,” while its subtle touches of strings, vocals, and light synths and distant guitars make for one of the record’s airiest and most melodically pleasing moments. Till Lindemann’s voice is as strong as ever, from grand and harmonious cleans to vicious roars, with the almost unhinged and virulent performance on “Puppe” proving one of his most passionate, and Christoph Schneider’s percussive attack is as precise and as powerful as ever. Christian “Flake” Lorenz’s keyboards throughout the album are in distinctly fine form, with the layers of squelching arpeggios on “Weit Weg” and the raunchy and somewhat spastic solos that match the bluesy kitsch of “Sex” standing out quite effectively, while Oliver Riedel’s acerbic bass offers a light but welcome solo on “Zeig Dich,” a song that is otherwise pure Wagnerian pomp with the Belarussian academic choir and symphony orchestra playing well against the dual-guitar onslaught of Richard Z. Kruspe and Paul Landers. Meral Al-Mer’s haunting vocal accompaniment on “Tattoo” stands out on what would otherwise be a by-the-numbers track from Rammstein; in fact, once all is said and done, this quality of the band simply excelling at what it has been doing since 1994 becomes both a strength and a weakness. Every facet of the album’s production is treated with the utmost care, giving each song just that extra touch of refinement to make them all an epic unto themselves… so much so that it begins to wear a bit too heavily on the listener by midway through the record, with “Hallomann” concluding things in a most unusual manner as it moves at a languid tempo without much urgency or force, the end trailing off in such an anti-climactic fashion that it’s more than a bit unsatisfying; if this were to be Rammstein’s swansong, it’s a strange way to end it. So, was this untitled record worth waiting a decade for? Ultimately, the answer is yes, although that would not be to say that it’s Rammstein’s best work. It’s arguably the band’s best performances and production, but somehow, things fall short enough that one hopes the band will have at least one more outing to go before finally calling it a day.