|Studio album by|
|Released||25 September 1995|
|Singles from Herzeleid|
|US version cover|
Production and writing
After signing up with Motor Music, the band was instructed to search for a producer, a position they didn't even know about since it wasn't usual in East Germany. They first suggested Bob Rock and Rick Rubin, but the label asked them to be less ambitious. The role was ultimately assigned to Jacob Hellner, known for his work with Clawfinger.
Guitarist Richard Kruspe recalls the band's struggle during their time in Stockholm, Sweden, where the album was recorded. Because there wasn't a language that both members and producer could speak, the band couldn't properly express their disapproval of the way Hellner was making them sound. This was solved with the help of Dutch engineer Ronald Prent, who served as a middleman between Rammstein and Hellner.
It took them seven days to finish the first song, due to the band's constant disapproval of Hellner's and Prent's inputs. In a 2019 interview to Metal Hammer Prent said every time there was a decision to be made, the members would host what he called a "German Conference" – outdoor meetings that could last from ten minutes to two hours until all six members reached an agreement.
The first song written for this album was "Rammstein", which was also the first song ever written by the band. The last song to be written was most likely "Asche zu Asche" since it was not played at their concerts in 1994, unlike all the other songs. A few songs were written in English before they were translated into German. There are also songs from that era that did not make it onto the album, including:
- "Jeder lacht" (the lyrics of the first verse were later re-used for the chorus of "Adios" from Mutter)
- "Schwarzes Glas"
- "Wilder Wein" (later released as a demo version on Engel: Fan-Edition, a finished live version appeared on Live aus Berlin)
- "Alter Mann" (later released on Sehnsucht with new music and slightly different lyrics)
- "Feuerräder" (later released on Engel: Fan-Edition, still in demo phase)
- "Tier" (1994) (also referred to as "Biest", a fanmade title. Not to be confused with the later released "Tier" from Sehnsucht)
- "Tiefer" (working name for "Jeder lacht")
- "Sadist" (performed once under this name, at a concert on 11 October 1996 in Magdeburg, Germany; was released under "Tier" on the album Sehnsucht)
The album's title translates as "heartbreak", and it reflects personal problems that every band member was going through around the time of the album's preparation, particularly Kruspe and vocalist Till Lindemann, who were breaking up with their respective girlfriends.
The original cover caused controversy when it was originally revealed. It shows the band topless and sweaty. The press said Rammstein depicted themselves in this image as "Herrenmenschen". Guitarist Kruspe said: "Das ist völliger Quatsch, das ist einfach nur ein Foto" ("Totally stupid. It's just a photo"). He did however expressed his embarrassment in 2016 saying that the band looked "gay...like an ad for a gay porno film." Lindemann added, that it was a quick shot on a parking lot somewhere in Berlin. North American versions had a different cover, consisting of the band members' faces from the inside of the original booklet, placed side by side.
Rammstein's first commercial logo was made for Herzeleid by Dirk Rudolph. This variation uses a thinner "T" character than what is used in later logos.
- Herzeleid was released on CD in many countries; the US and Canadian versions had alternative front covers, and were released by Slash Records, but still retained the same songs as on the German version. XIII Bis Records in France released Herzeleid on CD, as well as most of Rammstein's releases before 1999.
- Some editions of the Herzeleid CD were censored. Some copies had the words "Schulhof" (school yard) and "töten" (kill) beeped out during "Weisses Fleisch", and other versions had these words removed from the CD's lyric booklet, but not from the song itself.
- South Korean CDs excluded the song "Das alte Leid" from the tracklist and booklet, although the track is still on the CD.
- Countries such as South Korea, Poland, Germany and the US (among others) produced commercial cassettes for the album. European countries received cassettes featuring the original cover, but US cassettes featured the different cover that they also used on CDs.
- A very scarce number of German CDs were released with stickers to promote Rammstein's concert on 27 September 1996 slotted in the back of the case, in front of the insert artwork.
- A Motor Music pre-release cassette of the album was issued; there are two different variations of this tape, but the only difference is the appearance of the eszett (ß) character used in the title of "Weisses Fleisch".
- The first time Herzeleid has ever been released on vinyl was on the XXI boxset, and the subsequently released individual LPs from said boxset.
- A remastered version of the album was released on 4 December 2020.
Reception and legacy
Kruspe reflected in 2016 saying it was not among his favorite album:
I don't listen back to the record now at all. No. And I don't think it's one of our best albums – not even close. It was a very painful time for all of us. Imagine going through all the personal shit we'd had, and then having a hard time getting the music out. They do say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and in a way I am glad to have gone through so much. When you face up to the sort of crises that I was having in my personal life – which led to me starting Rammstein in the first place – then you learn lessons from these, you admit where you've gone wrong, and you try to put things right. So, I have to say there were some good reasons to be grateful to Herzeleid.
All tracks are written by Rammstein.
|1.||"Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen" ("Do You Want to See the Bed in Flames?")||5:17|
|2.||"Der Meister" ("The Master")||4:08|
|3.||"Weisses Fleisch" ("White Flesh")||3:35|
|4.||"Asche zu Asche" ("Ashes to Ashes")||3:51|
|6.||"Du riechst so gut" ("You Smell So Good")||4:49|
|7.||"Das alte Leid" ("The Old Sorrow")||5:44|
|8.||"Heirate mich" ("Marry Me")||4:44|
|10.||"Laichzeit" ("Spawning Time")||4:20|
Writing, performance and production credits are adapted from the album liner notes.
- Till Lindemann – vocals
- Richard Kruspe, Paul Landers – guitar
- Christian Lorenz – keyboards
- Oliver Riedel – bass
- Christoph Schneider – drums
* Members are not mentioned, just the band's name instead.
- Jacob Hellner, Carl-Michael Herlöffson – production
- Ronald Prent – mixing at Chateau du Pape
- Emanuel Fialik, Olav Bruhn – additional production on "Seemann"
- Jan "Praler" Hoffmann (credited as Praler) – photography, cover idea
- Dirk Rudolph – sleeve design
|United Kingdom (BPI)
2020 Remastered version
* Sales figures based on certification alone.
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