Martial Rocker: Rammstein between politics and sex


Rammstein songs are rarely unique. The lyrics of singer Till Lindemann often work on different levels. Videos are sometimes dodgy.

The scope of interpretation, the martial appearance in videos and on stage, not least direct or indirect quotes by Nazi icon Leni Riefenstahl have often accused one of the world's most successful German bands of playing very far to the right. With their title-less seventh studio album, Rammstein now apparently positioned on the other side.

Perhaps not to make it too easy for critics to locate the band right now in the left spectrum, Rammstein just uploaded one of their most controversial videos to YouTube just one week before the release of the new album with the 20 year old cover version “Stripped” by Depeche Mode , The denounced Nazi aesthetics have sometimes even referred to them as border crossing. The musicians can not be determined, Rammstein remains ambivalent.

But back to the new recording: it is the seventh studio album and contains as its predecessor again eleven songs. Even before the release of the fan community turned the wheel on the world. Videos to “Germany” and “Radio” clicked in a short time in the tens of millions. The first release “Germany” started from zero to one in the German single charts.

Which brings us to the point that Rammstein likes to claim as a PR-intended affront. After ten years without a new album, the musicians announced at the end of March the “Germany” video with a provocation immediately accompanied by protests: In the short sequence, which plays almost no role in the entire video, members of the band are seen in clothes, which reminds of those of concentration camp prisoners.

The song itself is a brutal as well as little national reckoning with 2000 years of history of a country that Rammstein says: “I can not give you my love”. It is too much “overpowering, superfluous, supermen, weary”, for “he who ascends, he will fall deeply.” But even the next line brings back trouble: “Germany, Germany above all”. Will all the bellowing fans at the upcoming stadium tour stick to the Rammsteinsche «n» at the end or dodge the Nazi discredited «over all» variant?

The six Rammstein members who grew up in the GDR belonged exactly to the song “Radio”. The song is a cry against censorship and oppression: “We were not allowed to belong; see nothing, talk or hear nothing. »But music knows as well as thoughts« no boundaries, no fences ». In the accompanying video, a black uniformed army does not manage to take possession of the radio station and master the musician. And in front of the radio house red flags are blowing in the end.

“Show yourself” is a reckoning with the part of the clergy whose representatives “accidentally give in to children”, always “in the name of the master”. Another strong song is “doll”. Text and music make the increasing despair of a boy felt, who has to watch through the keyhole, how his sister prostitutes herself in the next room and is finally murdered by one of her numerous suitors at the act.

The dark, abysmal, cross-border Rammstein songs also indulge in repeatedly taken up by the band topics such as promiscuity («foreigners»), sex fantasies à la «better disgusting than again not» («sex»), lifelong love hatred («. What I love »), voyeurism (« far away ») or child abuse (« Hallomann »).

Musically, a lot of Rammstein DNA can be heard on the album. The riffs of guitarists Richard Kruspe and Paul Landers are harsh and catchy, often surprising and often original – within those limits of rock music that also lives from the simplicity of headbanging.

The band also stands for change and influences. Cited are Kraftwerk and Anne Clark, Gregorian chants, Krautrock or Techno. The kick that makes Rammstein so special compared to other martial rockers on this album are once again the intelligent musical phrases and lines that Christian “Flake” Lorenz brings with his keyboards in the pieces.

Added to this are the sometimes banal, but very often exceedingly poetic lyrics by singer Lindemann: “So I hear what I do not see, quiet secretly far-off woe.” Such a splitting of a simple word like wanderlust quickly brings with it a new level of meaning and emphasis. Otherwise rarely heard words such as “Weltempfänger” or “Liedgut” or “indulge” bring another peculiarity Rammstein in the lines. Thus, a “tattoo” in the song of the same name is created “when the pain embraces the flesh”.


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