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January 09, 2005

Comments

captainblak

I'm utterly unconvinced about the association. If British and American heavy metal is allowed to cross all sorts of sexual/vampiric frontiers I see no particular reason why German heavy metal should not be accorded the same privilege. Or perhaps it's because I'm partial to Rammstein.

Aidan Kehoe

That's a bit of an incoherent criticism:

"""They had, they said, used it only because it was so pretty."

Sure, right ...""

and then

""I think it's utterly disingenuous for them to pose as misunderstood martyrs whenever they're challenged about the associations they've gone out of their way to invoke.""

They're either using old-school German imagery because they're fascist, or because they're not, and they like the aesthetics of it. If the latter, then „schöne“ is an appropriate word for them to use to describe it. No-one's suggesting that they endorse cannibalism based on the subject matter of „Mein Teil“ or that they're latent plane saboteurs based on the subject matter of „Rammstein“.

Abiola Lapite

"No-one's suggesting that they endorse cannibalism based on the subject matter of „Mein Teil“ or that they're latent plane saboteurs based on the subject matter of „Rammstein“."

You'd have a point if that were the only Nazi allusion in their act, but that's hardly the case, is it? If someone keeps making overt and not so overt allusions to such a topic, I think one has every right to look suspiciously on the goings on.

chris w

There is a big National Socialist Black Metal Scene in Scandanavia, but Rammstein has never been connected to it at all. They play an entirely different subgenre of metal, and are fairly commercial by the standards of the the NSBM bands.

Julian Elson

The thing is, people like that go out of their way to provoke criticism, and, when they're criticized (ideally as shrilly and incoherently as possible), it's what they want, BUT they can't admit it, because otherwise it would be transparently obvious that they're just trying to provoke criticism for base commercial reasons, so they're forced into the "why do you all hate poor innocents like us?" martyrdom pose by default.

Julian Elson

The thing is, people like that go out of their way to provoke criticism, and, when they're criticized (ideally as shrilly and incoherently as possible), it's what they want, BUT they can't admit it, because otherwise it would be transparently obvious that they're just trying to provoke criticism for base commercial reasons, so they're forced into the "why do you all hate poor innocents like us?" martyrdom pose by default.

Abiola Lapite

Julian, I think your take on it is probably the essence of the matter. It's all transparent posturing to help sell a few more records.

radek

Country music: Hank Williams Sr.

Though it may be a purely subjective judgement I will stand on record as saying that anyone who listens to Hank and does not appreciate it really lacks taste.

Randy McDonald

I wrote about the Slovenian group Laibach, here . They had subversive intent in their deployal of fascist imagery, towards communist Yugoslavia and towards ethnic-German supremacism.

Paul

This article in the Times is very poorly researched. Given how little the so-called journalist knows on the subject, I believe their word can't be taken seriously. For example, the journalist says that their latest single "Reise, Reise" shot to number one in Europe.. "Reise, Reise" was in fact not their latest single, nor was it ever a single at all. There have been 3 singles from the new album, "Mein Teil," "Amerika," and "Ohne Dich" (they're also releasing a fourth in February called "Keine Lust.") They then claim their song "Du Hast" is translated as "You Hate"...that's just plain wrong. And the German imperial uniform?? That's wrong too; it's an original stage outfit, not a real uniform of any sort. The article also claims that the song "Amerika" is generic European anti-American politics. The song isn't about politics at all, it's about American culture. Next we have the “Links-2,3,4” song with it's supposed goose-stepping, the song is military themed, and as it happens, militaries march, what of it?? The song is actually about their left-leaning views, rather than right wing fascism, this is not a claim of the band, if one looks at the lyrics; it's quite obviously true.
The use of Leni Reifenstahl’s clips doesn’t really mean anything. The clips were well-made and by a talented director, there’s just this general negativity about anything having to do with Germany in the 30’s or 40’s. The popular German band Kraftwerk had their song “Autobahn” …that was really successful; the Autobahn was commissioned and constructed by the Nazis (forced labor was even used in its construction), does that make Kraftwerk fascists?? Clearly not.
The Rammstein logo is not a swastika, it looks like a “+” symbol with an “R” to the left of it. The R is quite obviously for Rammstein and the + is what they use for the “t” in Rammstein. Using the logic that any cross must be associated with the swastika would be real bad news for all those churches that display a crucifix.
Rammstein has clearly used provocation towards the media before, but I don’t believe they’re flirting with a Nazi image and pretending to be martyrs. The claims that they were Nazis began before the majority of this so-called fascist imagery was used. Their first album “Herzeleid” which is nothing more than the band members shirtless against the backdrop of a strange flower of some type… supposedly made them look like Aryan poster boys… maybe it’s worth pointing out the fact that Richard Kruspe Bernstein, the founder of the band, is married to a Jewish woman…
I don’t think they at all go with fascist imagery, but rather since some ill-informed people think they have something to do with fascism, they filter out anything that indicates otherwise, so they only see what they want to. I’ve cite the example of Kraftwerk, if one looks (too) carefully at their songs, their image, cover-art, etc…I’m sure it would be just as easy to find allusions to the Nazis.

Mrs Tilton

Yeah, I wanted to mention Laibach (which is also, incidentally, the German form of 'Ljubljana', capital of Slovenia), but Randy has beaten me to the punch. Laibach use fascist imagery rather intelligently, and their music is interesting in a sort of conceptual way though for me, truth be told, a very little goes a very long way.

Rammstein operate at a much less exalted intellectual level. But I don't think they can fairly be called a neonazi band. (Even leaving out-and-out neonazi/skin bands to one side, Böhse Onkelz are probably more guilty of extreme-right kokettieren than are Rammstein.) Whoever mentioned Marilyn Manson has got it about right - Rammstein is rather juvenile provocation and, in Germany, nothing provokes quite like a whiff of the brown.

Oddly, Rammstein are, I hear, hugely popular in Russia.

BTW, if you read this Randy, would you mind posting (in text form) the link to your post about Laibach? Abiola's comments box disallows HTML. Thanks!

ogunsiron

I know a bit about metal.

I definitely think that Rammstein is using fascist imagery for shock value or because they are somehow fascinated that the grandiose and martial aspects of it all. I don't think they're even being ironic, ala Laibach (rammstein just isn't an intellectual kind of band) . They're just using imagery that excites them, i think much like a lot of grindcore bands go on and on about cannibalism, gore and dismemberment without practicing what they preach !

The nazi metal scene does exist but contrary to what was said earlier it's not that much a scandinavian phenomenon.

While scandinavia was very important for an underground genre known as "black metal" during the 90s, the nazi angle has been taken most seriously in countries like Russia/Ukraine/Belarus , etc, where being into metal is almost *synonymous* with being a hardcore racist.

The situation in western europe and north america is a bit more complicated but i certainly have no problems going to underground metal shows here in Quebec.

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