There are many amazing and talented heavier bands in Europe that will never see true international success because the songs are in their native tongue and, unfortunately, that can be a roadblock that is both unfair and frustrating. So for a band to not only find success, but reach the very peak of it for a heavy band – selling out stadiums – all the with songs sung in German, just shows how special Rammstein are.
Rammstein are easily the most well known example for the genre Neue Deutsche Härte, which spawned in Germany in the 90s and translates to ‘New German Hardness’. In most of the world, however, a simpler descriptor would be industrial hard rock. Their songs are characterised by strong, repetitive riffs, keyboard flourishes, and anthemic choruses.
And anthemic really is the best way to describe the music of Rammstein, and surely is key to their success. Till’s growled crooning hits the chorus and shifts to an uplifting and surprisingly beautiful vocal melody, and that stadium full of people are doing their best to bellow along – despite not understanding a word of it.
But perhaps, for some, it’s best the lyrics are not to be understood, as Rammstein are infamous for their fixation on taboo topics, often presented through the lens of a pitch black sense of humour. Topics of sex, abuse, cannibalism, sodomy and more are central to particular songs.
They disappeared for a while there, and for a few years I thought we’d heard our last new Rammstein music. But then that changed, and what a triumphant return it was.
Deutschland was as perfect a Rammstein song as anyone could’ve imagined. A dance-fuelled intro, that iconic twin guitar sound bursting in, with everything building to a crescendo before Till chimes in with that iconic voice. The chorus, though… the chorus was the moment I distinctly remember thinking ‘Fuck me, Rammstein are back!’ That powerful shout, a simple utterance of the name of their homeland, accentuating a song about walking a fine line between pride and shame when it comes to patriotism, comes back to the way I described Rammstein earlier – anthemic.
Rammstein have been part of my personal soundtrack for over 20 years now – and they’ve been possibly one of the most consistent bands in my life. In the 27 years since the band’s inception, their 6-man lineup has not changed once. This strong foundation has almost certainly been the primary reason they’ve remained so reliable all these years. Rammstein has always sounded like Rammstein and it has always been good.