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GER 100
Paul Malone

12 November 2012 Rammstein Thor  Bodybuilder rock star Manowar  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  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 fascism.  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 kitsch.  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 rejection… 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….”  Provo
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