March 01, 2021
The German metal band’s outrageous antics unsettled my parents, but they opened my mind to a continent and a cultureRead more from The fandom that made me seriesIt was Till Lindemann’s voice that first drew me to Rammstein, the German industrial metal band that dominated my teen years. I first heard it on a Kerrang! compilation CD in 2002, where the band’s single Sonne appeared right at the end of a tracklist otherwise full of shouting Americans who sounded mad at their dads. As deep and scary as the Mariana trench, Lindemann’s dramatic baritone is incomparably filthy – and he was also singing in German, a language I had barely been exposed to as a tragically monolingual Brit. My obsession with Rammstein annoyed and worried my parents in equal measure, and over the next few years gifted me with a German vocabulary that my high-school teacher memorably described as “extraordinary, if unrepeatable”. Unlikely as it might seem, it was also my obsession with Rammstein that made me into a keen European.
Rammsteins lurid lyrics turned me into a keen European
Let’s get back to Lindemann for a minute. He is one of the all-time great metal frontmen, an unignorable and slightly frightening force, alternating between growling and singing soulfully over Rammstein’s trademark combo of club keyboards and chugging guitars – simple, insistent riffs that lodged themselves deep in my brain matter. It made my hair stand on end. After picking up Rammstein’s third album, Mutter, which I must have listened to at least once a day for years, I started digging around online for Rammstein fan forums where people shared photos of the band in their various absurd techno-BDSM outfits. I got hold of a copy of their concert DVD, Live aus Berlin, on special order from HMV and watched Lindemann prowl around on stage like a giant bear, pounding his fist into his knee in his idiosyncratic headbanging style. The prettier guitarist, Richard Kruspe, was most popular with all the goth girls on the metal forums, but it was all about Lindemann for me.
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