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Always Knowingly NSFW: Rammstein's History in Video Nasties

Thursday, 11 July 2019 Written by Jon Stickler

Photo: © Jens Koch

They aren't for everyone, apparently, but honestly what’s not to love about German industrial metal giants Rammstein? 

Their consistent no-fucks-given attitude towards controversy has sent the public into a state of incandescent fury on a number of occasions over the course of their 25-year career, but they’ve always coupled their taste for the outrageous with being stupidly entertaining live, brutally heavy on record and endearingly dark with their music videos, which have included references to all kinds of nasty business like necrophilia, sadomasochism and sexual violence.

Underneath the fire, flames and fiendish behaviour on film and stage, Rammstein are possessed by a pure artistic vision, and fresh from bringing mayhem to Milton Keynes’s Stadium MK they’ve lined up a huge show at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena and a date at Boucher Road Playing Fields for next June.

It’s therefore a great time to take a look back on the German juggernaut’s visual output and see just how artistically provocative and frighteningly disturbing they can be. Strap yourself in for some seriously NSFW content.

Ich Tu Dir Weh (Director: Jonas Åkerlund, 2009)

Released as the second single from the band’s sixth studio album, 2009’s ‘Liebe ist fur alle da’ (‘Love is there for everyone’), the song’s title translates to I Am Going To Hurt You and features lyrics about sadomasochism. 

With its lyrical references to barbed wire meeting urethras it’s little wonder that Germany’s media watchdog took exception to the track and its accompanying video, which involved vocalist Till Lindemann getting wires DRILLED INTO HIS FACE to have a torch light up the inside of his mouth. The promo also gave us the first look at Flake’s keyboard treadmill and the rising lighting rig that featured on the ‘Liebe ist fur alle da’ stage show.

Mann gegen Mann (Director: Jonas Åkerlund, 2006)

Loosely translated to Man Against Man, the song is about repressed homosexual desire, while the video finds the band performing nude in front of a writhing scrum of very sweaty and very naked muscular men. Lindemann, meanwhile, wears a lustrous wig, high heeled boots and black latex briefs.

The track was released as the third and final single from 2006’s ‘Rosenrot’ album, with the music video becoming Rammstein’s first to feature nudity since their clip for their cover of Depeche Mode’s Stripped in 1998.

Pussy (Director: Jonas Åkerlund, 2009)

No prizes for guessing what this one is all about with lyrics like, "You have a pussy, I have a DICK-AH! So what's the problem? Let's do it quick!" The straightforward, silly song is comically risqué, while the video portrays band members as cliched porn characters before descending into hardcore filth. It’s beyond NSFW.

When performing the song live, the band bring out a “penis cannon”, yes, that’s right, complete with veiny scrotum, which shoots foamy jizz over the audience. You won’t see that at an Ed Sheeran gig.

Sonne (Director: Jörn Heitmann, 2001)

A dark, sadmosochistic rendition of the Brothers Grimm’s 19th century German fairytale, the video tells the story of a gold-addicted Snow White and her dwarf sex-slaves, played by the band. They free themselves from her only to realise that they have made a mistake and want back in.

The song, meanwhile, featured on Rammstein’s 2001 album, ‘Mutter’, and according to Lindemann was originally intended as an entrance song for boxer Vitali Klitschko. Eagle-eyed fans will have already noticed that the video for the band's recent single Deutschland features a piano version of the song over its credits.

Du Hast (Director: Philipp Stölzl, 1997)

The second single from Rammstein’s 1997 second album, ‘Sehnsucht’, Du Hast is arguably the band’s best known tune due to its massive, fuck off riff and its inclusion on numerous film soundtracks, most notably The Matrix.

The accompanying cinematic clip is a gritty tale full of the weird goings on we’ve come to expect from the industrialists like crime, violence, creepy masks, explosions, fire and murder, but it’s the first-person segment that really immerses you into Rammstein’s twisted world.

Mein Herz brennt (Director: Zoran Bihać, 2012)

German for My Heart Burns, this song opened the ‘Mutter’ album as well as the band’s live show during that era, but had to wait over a decade to receive a visual treatment. That duly arrived in 2012, when it led the vanguard for Rammstein’s 'Videos 1995–2012' set.

The dark imagery of the video centres around six children trapped within a hellish hospital basement. There’s also an unplugged reworking of the track that comes with its own video featuring Lindemann in clown make-up, wearing a black dress, with cuts across his chest. Backed by a lone piano, the vocalist gives the performance of his career.

Amerika! (Director: Jörn Heitmann, 2004)

Rammstein’s biting look at globalisation takes a vicious swipe at the world’s obsession with American pop culture though powerful, incisive lyrics: “We're all living in Amerika, Coca-Cola, sometimes war.” The track features on the band’s fourth studio album, 2004’s ‘Reise Reise’.

Its accompanying fake moon landing-themed video is a smorgasbord of wild imagery—the band playing a Star Trek pinball machine in space, African tribespeople scarfing takeaway pizza—that drives home the song’s overriding focus.

Ich Will (Director: Jörn Heitmann, 2001)

The video tells the story of a bank heist, with each member of the band playing gangsters who go on to become adored by the public as a result of their crimes. The clip is more relevant than ever, representing the media’s to publicise and glorify despicable acts of modern society for a good story.

The track features on 2001’s ‘Mutter’, while the video’s original premiere was shelved due to the 9/11 attacks given some of the imagery.

Deutschland (Director: Specter Berlin, 2019)

The band’s first recorded output for almost a decade left a lot of people speechless. Arriving with a nine-minute cinematic clip that has attracted more than 60 million views on YouTube, Deutschland takes a trip into Germany’s past, from the Roman age to the present day, via World War I and the Hindenburg disaster. There are savage fights, cannibalism, and a bleak scene in which a woman gives birth to a dog.

The track was released as the lead single from the band's seventh studio album in March, their first new music since the Greatest Hits track Mein Land in 2011.

Mein Teil (Director: Zoran Bihać, 2004)

The lead single off ‘Reise, Reise’ was inspired by the 2001 Armin Meiwes cannibalism case and goes down as one of the most unnerving tracks in Rammstein’s catalogue. 

With disturbing imagery individually chosen by each band member, the clip culminates with the chilling image of drummer Christoph ‘Doom’ Schneider dressed as Meiwes’ mother walking the rest of the band on leashes through the streets. 

Rammstein Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed June 17 2020 - BELFAST Boucher Playing Fields
Sat June 20 2020 - COVENTRY Ricoh Arena - Stadium

Click here to compare & buy Rammstein Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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