Rammstein’s Rage

By Claire Berlinski

Heavy metal and the return of the Teutonic spirit.

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ammstein—the name is a made-up word meaning, more or less, “ramming stone”1—is a popular German band. Very popular. Rammstein released its first album, Herzeleid (“Heartache”), in 1995. Within days, it topped the German Media Control Charts. It stayed in the number one position for five weeks, then remained in the top ten for two years, an unrivaled achievement in Germany’s notoriously fickle pop music market. Their next album, Sehnsucht (“Longing”), was more successful still: The best-selling album in Germany from the day of its release, it immediately went double platinum. In 1998, their video Engel (“Angel”) was awarded an Echo, the German equivalent of a Grammy. In the same year, Viva, a mainstream German television station more or less like MTV, awarded Rammstein their prize trophy, the Comet, effectively declaring them the preeminent ambassadors of German popular music. The year 1999 brought Rammstein another Echo for Sehnsucht. Their album Mutter (“Mother”), released in March 2001, immediately sold a million copies, bringing their total album sales over the four-million mark. Their most recent album, Reise, Reise (“Voyage, Voyage”), released last November, surpassed all of their previous sales records. With Reise, Reise, Rammstein became the best-selling German-language band in history.

Claire Berlinski is a writer living in Paris. She is currently working on a study of the challenges facing the European political order. Her last contribution to Azure was the essay “The Hope of Marseilles” (Azure 19, Winter 2005).

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