Rammstein: From A to Z
There is no
other band that sounds remotely like Rammstein. The East German
sextet's unique blend of metal, industrial, techno and classical
musical elements has made it one of Europe's most successful rock
bands ever since the 1995 release of its debut album HERZELEID
(which went platinum in several Euro territories). Its successor
SEHNSUCHT (released abroad in 1997, and as the band's U.S. debut
in January 1998) was not only the logical continuation of the
musical concept, but also even more successful than album No.
1. with platinum in Germany AND in the USA and a string of awards
in other European countries, Rammstein secured their place in
the history of rock music - a development on which their third
album MUTTER will build. (Release date: April 3, 2001).
B - Band
is: Flake Lorenz (keyboards), Oliver Riedel (Bass), Christoph
Schneider (drums), Paul Landers (guitar), Richard Z. Kruspe-Bernstein
(guitar), and Till Lindemann (vocals). There have been no line-up
changes since the band was established in 1993.
C - Charts/Critics
and album has made its way up the European charts. SEHNSUCHT went
straight to Number 1 on the Media Control Charts immediately on
release and stayed there for five weeks!
also captured the highest praise from some of the most respected
rock critics in the U.S., including Chuck Eddy in ROLLING STONE
("a melodramatic sense of melody as muscular as it is mannered")
and SPIN ("...almost unbearable Black Forest sadness lurking
beneath their operatic-romantic industrial-metal hybrid... (RAMMSTEIN
have) figured out how to buffer their rage with beauty"),
Charles M. Young in PLAYBOY ("Rammstein makes Metallica look
like pussies. With its insane unison riffing, relentless rhythm-section
drive and spare but bizarre sampling, Rammstein is also a lot
more musical and imaginative than Metallica."), not to mention
winning features and and reviews from DETAILS, the LOS ANGELES
TIMES, the WALL STREET JOURNAL, and an MTV NEWS interview with
Kurt Loder - in German!
D - David
Blue Velvet, Eraserhead, Twin Peaks and Wild At Heart. He licensed
two Rammstein songs for the soundtrack of his film Lost Highway
before the band had ever released a record in America!
E - Entertainment
are true entertainers. The band's amazing show has become a worldwide
must-see, prompting Kiss to have them along as special guests
on a South American tour. Even their sternest critics must grudgingly
admit that a Rammstein show is first and foremost great entertainment.
Robert Christgau, for example, had originally labeled SEHNSUCHT
a "dud" but was later converted by the undeniable Rammstein
F - Family
played the penultimate slot on the tour's very first year, crossing
the North American continent in autumn '98 and attracting more
attention than ever - especially from the authorities of Worcester,
Mass., who intervened when Till, Flake and their plastic strap-on
phallus did their "Bück Dich" number. Though a
regular part of every Rammstein show, it was perhaps too much
of a good thing for the local authorities. "Lascivious conduct"
justified their immediate removal from the stage and several hours
in holding cells before their release upon payment of a 100 dollar
fine and six months' probation.
G - Grammy
1999 saw Rammstein
nominated, as the first German band ever, in the "Best Metal
Performance" category (for "Du Hast").
H - Humor
have a lot more than some people credit them with. Rammstein's
toying with the dark side of desire is admittedly overdone at
times to the point of becoming black comedy. That can lead to
I - Imitators
been many, especially abroad. Rammstein's success with HERZELEID
and SEHNSUCHT lured record company talent scouts out from behind
their desks. In a hope of grabbing a slice of the action, they
went in search of Rammstein clones. With more or less modest success.
Who wants a copy when you can have the real thing?
J - Jacob
a winning team. MUTTER was produced with Jacob Hellner (Clawfinger
etc.), who had already twiddled the knobs for HERZELEID and SEHNSUCHT.
The band themselves can best explain why: "Jacob is the ideal
producer for Rammstein, because he doesn't intervene in the songwriting.
When the songs are ready, we work on them with him to make them
even stronger. Another thing: He knows how to give the musicians
self-confidence, so they can give of their best during the recording
process. And then he is very disciplined and has a regular rhythm.
That suits us as a band very well. He concentrates on his work
so much that after a day in the studio he is swaying as if he
has drunk too much!"
K - Krauts
are not ashamed to be Krauts.
L - Live Shows
Australia, Europe, South America - there is scarcely anywhere
upon earth where Rammstein have not yet set off their rockets.
They are one of the few bands in recent years to have defined
themselves very largely through their live shows, which in turn
are characterized by their vast battery of pyrotechnics, which
comes close to a full scale operatic production. Rammstein's concerts
are marked by grand gestures which linger on in the mind's eye.
M - Mutter
The new album.
Rammstein have continued to develop while avoiding the mistake
of sacrificing their own identity. MUTTER sees them doing what
they do best: A bombastic mixture of razor-sharp riffs, monolithic
song structures, spine-chilling Gothic horror and the lugubrious
vocals that never harbored such ambition as on MUTTER. To this
they have added some new elements - like jungle-style beats -
and these become an integral part of the sound and leave it instantly
recognizable. MUTTER is still Rammstein pure an undiluted. Just
a little bit more perfect. And more aroused. And more exciting.
And a whole lot better. MUTTER has surely brought the band breathtakingly
near to its goal of melding the harmonies of pop with the hard
riffs of metal.
N - Nation
sing in German. In contrast to most of their colleagues, they
never sought to do otherwise. "Why should we?" ask Rammstein.
"We wanted to do our own thing, and that has to do with where
we come from. And we are from the German nation."
O - Official
and its fans enjoy a very special relationship. Rammstein enjoy
introducing fan club members to still unreleased songs at selected
gigs. Without letting in the general public. Or people from their
record company, either...
P - Politics
want to have anything to do with.
Q - Quentin
Pulp Fiction, From Dusk 'Til Dawn, etc. Rammstein drew on his
Reservoir Dogs for the imagery in their video to "Du Hast",
Rammstein's most successful song to date worldwide.
R - Remixes
Rammstein are on many artists wish lists. Faith No More, Korn
and Rob Zombie are only a few of the acts they have worked with
S - Success
have had an ample share of success. They won a 1998 Echo (basically
the German Grammy) for best video ("Engel") and that
year's Viva Comet for best live band (Viva is the national German
music video channel). 1999 brought them the Echo for most successful
national artist abroad (SEHNSUCHT). After all, Rammstein are the
only German band since Kraftwerk to make such an international
name for themselves, making it into the U.S. Billboard Top 100,
touring extensively here - not to mention nominations for both
the Grammy and MTV Europe Music Awards.
T - Technincs,
much in evidence at Rammstein's concerts. Till Lindemann in his
blazing asbestos coat is emblematic of every Rammstein show. Till
earned qualification as a pyrotechnician specifically to execute
Rammstein's megalomaniacal pyrotechnic effects. Rammstein fans
owe the whole gigantic display to an old complaint of the singer:
"The songs of HERZELEID were too static. I always felt such
a prat in the instrumental passages. I held onto the microphone
stand while other front men were dancing or flinging things through
the air. But that didn't suit our music. And it really didn't
suit me. So one day I had these two Roman candles in my hand.
And that's how the whole thing exploded into life."
U - Understandings,
the case of Rammstein. The band's signature mixture of provocative
lyrics, Gothic horror and primitive regressive fantasies may have
something to do with that. The debate was fuelled recently by
the use of excerpts from Leni Riefenstahl films in their video
of the cover of Depeche Mode's "Stripped" (from the
Music For The Masses DM tribute), though the band later explained
that they were only interested in the artistic value of the images
and not their political content.
V - Video/DVD
LIVE AUS BERLIN.
Recorded on August 22 and 23, 1998. Rammstein played a one-time-only
escalated version of its classic stage show at Berlin's Wuhlheide
W - Web
X - Sex
Sex is a central
theme in Rammstein's songs. Not that they always cast a rosy light
on what happens when people come together. Rammstein's ironic
plays on S/M fantasies - as in "Bück Dich" or "Rein
Raus" (on MUTTER) - can sometimes lead to misunderstandings.
Y/Z - Yesterday
future looks good.