12 November 2012
Bodybuilder rock star
Warriors of the World (intro is only good part)
Most cliched heavy metal band
W.A.S.P. (We Are Sexual Predators)
Animal (F**k like a Beast)
Gwar (My favourite band)
Rammstein is a German rock band most easily situated within the heavy metal genre, although
the band might be more accurately identified within several of the heavy metal sub-genres
discussed below, particularly that of ‘extreme’ metal.
With record company support, Rammstein have remained close to the extreme metal boundary
without actually crossing it by promoting notions of nostalgia for an earlier German culture –
and for their version of a new German romanticism – while eschewing accusations of links to
It may be understandable that Germany would want to, as Ross puts it, ‘wipe the slate clean’
after the Second World War.
Aspects of Rammstein’s music, however, underscore connections to recent trends in post-
unification Germany towards right-wing orientated rock and extreme metal, as well as to
consequent extreme attitudes towards the country’s recent past and suspicions of neo-fascist
The band has had to continually declare its non-political intentions and verbally distance itself
from the right-wing rock scene, declaring in an interview with the weekly news magazine Der
Spiegel last year entitled ‘Eternally justifying ourselves grinds us down’ *‘Das ewige
Rechtfertigen mach uns mürbe‘+ that ‘the whole discussion around our allegedly right-wing
image is unnecessary and gets on our nerves.’
“The unmistakably foreboding music lends each song an atmosphere of dark seriousness and
anticipation, and has substantially contributed to both the band’s notoriety, but also stimulates
journalists’ derogatory comments for perpetuating male stereotypes, promoting crassly
misogynist images and stories, and catering to inhuman, animalistic instincts.”
“DU HAST” (YOU HAVE ; 1997)
o Rammstein’s ambiguous utilization of Nazi aesthetics, their sometimes brutal and coldly
mechanical stage show, along with misogynist and sadistic song lyrics, have prompted
some rock critics to place them at the vanguard of what has become known as the
‘Neue Deutsche Härte’ (NDH) *‘New German Hardness’+. [Wolf-Rüdiger] Mühlmann
has described the NDH in the following terms as a recruiting tool for Neo-Nazis:
o It is a ‘large national genre-receptacle, which, on the one hand encountered a broad
consumer acceptance, and on the other hand it doesn’t comprise distinct, profound
political statements, but shrouds itself in a fog of ambiguous or empty metaphors. In
this fog, many lyric lines can be misinterpreted up and down – and the consumers are
largely young, very young. For the political right and their ideological leaders [the NDH] 12 November 2012
represents a made-to-order trend, receptacle for utilizing the musical mainstream,
something which could hardly be more attractive and, above all, valuable, for Nazis.’
Stefan Lindke … argues that Rammstein is a primary determinant of the Neue Deutsche Härte,
which he characterizes as music suited to the current period in which Germany is
‘reconstructing itself as a Great Power’ and society is ‘reshaping itself in nationalistic terms’….
Lindke … defines the NDH as a musically heterogeneous style which
o renounces distinct usages of Nazi symbols and thus decontextualizes the fascist
aesthetics, and thus gets people used to their usage and helps anchor – unconsciously –
their ideals and images of people…
o moves away from ‘political correctness‘ even up to, and including its vehement
o a distinctly sexist character which postulates a negatively defined sexual difference in
which the man is dominant. In addition, Rammstein and others belonging to the NDH
utilize elements of fascist aesthetics like those of the punk and new wave movement,
but without any recognizable ironic deconstruction or distanciating devaluation.
... NDH shares archaic, romantic, and mystical elements with other sectors of German pop
music, like Gothic and Dark Wave groups currently popular among portions of the German
public, in which ‘blood, fire, struggle, death, and virility’ play a prominent role.
Lindke contends with Roger Behrends that these ‘heroic’ tendencies are a ‘secret desire of the
postmodern person’ for creating a ‘romantic idea of some kind of a national cultural identity’ in
the face of cultural globalization’ *…+ and ‘German-language hip hop’.
“M UTTER ” (MOTHER ; 2001)
Story about a clone whose life is about end and regrets not being able to live a life as a normal
person, instead of a killing machine.
Patrick Stevenson and John Theobald emphasize that the ‘annexation’ of the former DDR into
the Federal Republic has led to a ‘growing counter-hegemonic discourse’ which is ‘gaining in
currency’ and ‘puncturing the dominant western story’ by ‘creating a space for other memories,
experiences, discourses and historiographies’.
In addition to ‘accommodating with varying degrees of obligation or pragmatism to western
discourses,’ former East Germans have, in the face of arrogant and patronizing behavior and
attitudes of Western counterparts, ‘used their *DDR+ experience to construct strategies of
discursive autonomy and resistance in an attempt to salvage self-respect’.
This Ostalgie provides these former East Germans with a ‘firm identity’ at a time when they
have become second-class citizens in the reunified Germany ….
The works of Rammstein provide a concrete example of the collective cultural remnants of a lost
society subsumed inside a larger whole.
While discussing the use of German language in German popular music, Edward Larkey
describes how many late twentieth century German performers rejected the dominance of the
Anglo-American popular music industry and the use of Standard German, as used in the Schlager
song style in the aftermath of the Second World War….
Larkey maintains that the Schlager has its precedents in nineteenth-century German operetta
and that it was regarded by musicians performing in the emerging rock music genre of the 1960s
as conservative and obsolete, whereas rock music, most often sung in trans-atlantic English,
signified rebellion and insurrection….
This was a consequence of Anglo-American dominance of Western popular culture in the second
half of the twentieth century during which most Western popular music was sung in English,
even by non-English speaking artists. 12 November 2012
Till Lindemann, the Rammstein vocalist, however, sings in German within an Anglo-American
heavy metal context in order to, as Allan Moore puts it, convey ‘the impression that his
utterance is one of integrity, that it represents an attempt to communicate in an unmediated
form with an audience’….
Lindemann also conveys to the audience what Moore observes as ‘first-person authenticity of
expression’ as a means of circumventing ‘mere entertainment’ in favour of promoting a sense of
belonging, or what might be regarded as the maintenance of authenticity in cultural experience
and a means promoting cultural expression, as noted by Richard Middleton….”