Aug 9, 2012

Nikos Deja Vu - Rammstein


Rammstein was formed in 1993 by an assembly of factory-weary proletarians raised in East Germany.
They took their name (adding an "m") from the location of a German tragedy where 80 people were hurt and killed as the result of a crash during an American Air Force flight show.

The literal translation of "ram stein" is a battering ram made of stone.
Word of Rammstein's horror romanticist blend of theater and music spread like wildfire.

One-time Olympic swimmer Till Lindemann would sing entire songs engulfed in flame from head to toe.
The band's first album, Herzeleid (Heartache), built on the grounds created by the band's live reputation.
Scaling the German charts (and remaining there until the release of the second Rammstein LP some two years later), the album also introduced the band to the world outside of the Germany/Switzerland/Austria region.

As Rammstein's second album, Sehnsucht (Longing), was released, the band was headlining throughout Europe to crowds of 10,000 to 30,000 people.
Sehnsucht entered the German charts at number one immediately upon its release and came very close to doing the same in Austria and Switzerland.
Within weeks, entries on other countries' charts had Sehnsucht rubbing elbows with the Prodigy, Radiohead, and the Rolling Stones on Billboard's cumulative Eurochart.

From there the fever spread, transcending any perceived language barrier.
Mutter followed in 2001, Reise, Reise in 2004, and the live collection Volkerball in 2006.

Group Members:
Flake Lorenz
Richard Kruspe
Till Lindemann
Christoph "Doom" Schneider
Paul Landers
Oliver Riedel

RAMMSTEIN is a powerful German dance/industrio-metal music band.
They describe themselves as "tanzmetal", meaning dance/metal.
This is very true, but a little misleading.
Since dance is only a small element of their work.

Essentially no one realy knows the true meaning why the word "Rammstein" was chosen by the six members, but there are a couple of prime possibilities.
Rammstein means a stone battering ram.
(Rammen meaning to ram, and stein meaning stone).
Another theory is it is named after a the Ramstein (not only one 'm') airbase, in Germany, where a spectacular airshow disaster occured.
The last song on the bands debut album, Herzeleid, also the first song Rammstein ever wrote, was inspired by this accident.

Before Rammstein, all the six members were friends and were in other, lesser known bands.
In 1994 Richard Kruspe invented the idea and formed the band.
All members, who are all male in their 30's, was born and raised in either Berlin, or Schwerin (north west of Berlin, close to the coast), Wittenerg or Leipzig.
In order to make a living they mostly were all industrial labourers.
It is understood that the vocalist, Till Lindemann, was a champion swimmer.

One of the the contributing factors that propelled Rammstein into fame was their strong use of pyromania in their concerts, making them an awesome band to see live, however the makeup of the band is possibly why they are so well liked.
Till Lindemann is the vocalist, Richard Kruspe and Paul Landers on guitars, Oliver Riedel on bass, Christian "Flake [flah-keh]" Lorenz on keyboards and Christoph Scneider as drummer.
Rammstein is set for any genre of music they wish.

Dual lead guitarists allow the band to create sounds far too complex for an ordinary single guitar,s this combined with Kruspe and Lander's impeccable syncronisation and Reidel providing the 'reinforcement' make the core of the music very strong.
Keyboards in metal bands should not be overlooked, it creates a good rythm and is excellent for intro's and outro's.
[see Du Hast, Engel, Spiel Mit Mir, Du Riechst So Gut etc.] Flake provides an excellent talent to the band.
But Till is surely one of the greatest vocalists in the world today, making him the driving force of Rammstein.
The general image of him being able to sing to standard while being engulfed in flames from head to toe lets us know how excellent he is.

Flake quotes "Our style came out of knowing exactly what we didn't want, we didn't want to make American ftink music, or punk.
That's something we couldn't do at all.
We realised we could only make the music we make."
Rammstein have the unique ability to create music that is fast, slow, romantic, horrific, explicit, violent and more all at once.
Singing about love, hate, tragedy, anger, violence and sex in it's most extreme forms, Rammstein is the greatest, most awesome band in the world.
The lyrics are very well constructed, with ample thought used, and are performed with such vibrance.

Some people think that Till singing almost exclusivly in German lets the band down when appealing to english markets, but in my humnble opinion, that what makes then excel.
How many people actually like the English version of Du Hast or Engel better than the German original? Although Stripped is one of my favourites, just the sound and tone made by the German language really compliments Rammstein's music.

Flake said that he used to go to David Bowie concerts when he was young, even though he didn't understand a word that was said, he just loved the music.
When Rammstein did make an englsih set of two of the singles from Sehnsucht, radio DJ's wouldn't accept them, because people liked the German versions better.
If the reson that you listen to music is because of he lyrics, then you are better off listening to the news.
Besides, it has been said that due to the lyrics being reasonably "revolting" you won't want to listen to Rammstein if you either know or plan on learning German.

Rammstein do not, however, view their lyrics as harsh or revolting.
Flake says "they are completely normal, romantic lyrics".
Who wouldn't agree after hearing translations to songs like Herzeleid or Seemann, but then, who would after knowing the meaning [let alone seeing the stage show] of Buch Dich.
This all simply displays the broad range of topics Rammstein covers.

Contrary to popular belief, Rammstein are not associated with or are not influenced by the Nazi movement.
It is very sad that the media must describe them as such.
Apparently this was based on the cover art to Herzeleid, which features the bands members with their shirts off, standing in front of a flower, "a photo for a new master race".
"Rubbish," states Flake, "it's just a photo" as Rammstein laughs off all allegations that they are influenced by the Nazi's.
"If we were Spanish, we wouldn't have to deal with this hassle" argues Landers.
But then who can help calling any German that you dislike a Nazi? The critics can't.

In 1997 Rammstein released their second album, nearly two years after the first.
Sehnsucht entered the charts at #1.
At the same time Herzeleid was in the same chart, in to top 20.
Both singles, Engel and Du Hast were also in the top 20 in the singles charts.
To top this off, Sehnsucht went platinum in Germany (500,000) in the presale, before they hit the streets.
Go figure.
Two years later, just before the USA family values tour, Rammstein teamed up with the bads, Joachim Witt, Alaska, Nina Hagen and Danzig, and pulled off an immense concert in Wulheide in Berlin.
This is the biggest concert to date, with 17,000 people attending each night, for two nights.
The Live Aus Berlin CD and video was released from this footage.

Rammstein has played in USA with KMFDM and on the hugely popular Family Values tour, they have also supported Kiss in South America.
Unfortunately their Australian performances had to be cancelled on account of Schneider perferrating his eardrum, and being unable to fly out.
Through this they have been warmly welcomed and accepted into popularity by many, many people.

One thing is certain, although the controversy of their video's, the question of legality and morality of their stage shows and the fact that Till sings exclusively in German, Rammstein will not change these fame creating ways.

Or it just wouldn't be Rammstein, would it?

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 "Buck 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 (Germans).

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 "Buck Dich" or "Rein Raus" (on MUTTER) - can sometimes lead to misunderstandings.

Y/Z - Yesterday

The future looks good..

Nikos Deja Vu

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