Last updated: 03/06/2014 07:43:42 AM
Rammstein: From A to Z
A - Albums
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
Rammstein 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
Every single 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!
SEHNSUCHT 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 Lynch
Director of 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
Rammstein 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 live experience.
F - Family Values Tour
Rammstein 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
Rammstein 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 misunderstandings.
I - Imitators
There have 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 Hellner
Never change 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
Rammstein are not ashamed to be Krauts.
L - Live Shows
USA, Japan, 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
Rammstein 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 Fan Club
Rammstein 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
Nothing Rammstein want to have anything to do with.
Q - Quentin Tarantino
Director of 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
As remixers, 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 to date.
S - Success
Rammstein 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, Pyro-
These are 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, Mis-
Frequent in 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 venue.
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
Gone. The future looks good.