Rammstein is a German Neue Deutsche Härte / hard rock / industrial metal and gothic metal band which, in its own words, produces "Tanzmetall", (dancemetal) and was formed in Berlin in 1994. Their six-man lineup, lead vocalist Till Lindemann, lead guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe, rhythm guitarist Paul Landers, bassist Oliver Riedel, drummer Christoph Schneider, and keyboardist Christian "Flake" Lorenz, has remained unchanged throughout their existence. Prior to their formation, some members were associated with acts such as Feeling B and First Arsch.
After winning a local contest, Rammstein were able to record demos and send them to different record labels, eventually signing with Motor Music. Working with producer Jacob Hellner, they released their debut album Herzeleid in 1995. Though the album sold poorly at first, the band gained popularity through their live performances and the album eventually reached No. 6 in Germany. Their second album, Sehnsucht, was released in 1997 and debuted at No. 1 in Germany, resulting in a worldwide tour lasting nearly four years and spawning the successful singles "Engel" and "Du hast" as well as the live album Live aus Berlin (1999).
Following the expansive tour, Rammstein signed with major label Universal Music and released Mutter in 2001. Six singles were released from the album, all charting in multiple countries throughout Europe. The lead single, "Sonne", reached No. 2 in Germany. They released Reise, Reise in 2004 and had two more singles reach No. 2 in Germany; "Mein Teil" and "Amerika". Their fifth album, Rosenrot, was released in 2005 and a second live album, Völkerball, was released in 2006.
The band released their sixth album, Liebe ist für alle da, in 2009, with its lead single, "Pussy", becoming their first No. 1 hit in Germany despite having a controversial music video that featured hardcore pornography. The band then entered a recording hiatus and toured for several years, releasing the Made in Germany greatest hits album as well as the Rammstein in Amerika and Paris live albums. After a decade without new music, Rammstein returned in 2019 with the song "Deutschland", which became their second No. 1 hit in Germany. Their untitled seventh studio album was released in May 2019 and reached No. 1 in 14 countries.
Rammstein were one of the first bands to emerge within the Neue Deutsche Härte genre, with their debut album leading the music press to coin the term, and their style of music has generally had a positive reception from music critics. Commercially, the band have been very successful, earning many No. 1 albums as well as gold and platinum certifications in countries around the world. Their grand live performances, which often feature pyrotechnics, have played a part in their popularity growth. Despite success, the band have been subject to some controversies, with their overall image having been subject to criticism; for instance, the song "Ich tu dir weh" forced its parent album Liebe ist für alle da to be re-released in Germany with the song removed due to its graphic lyrics about sex.
Founding and Herzeleid (1989–1996)
In 1989, East German guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe escaped to West Berlin and started the band Orgasm Death Gimmick. At that time, he was heavily influenced by American music, especially that of rock group Kiss. After the Berlin Wall came down, he moved back home to Schwerin, where Till Lindemann worked as a basket-weaver and played drums in the band First Arsch (loosely translated as "First Ass" or "First Arse"). At this time, Kruspe lived with Oliver Riedel of the Inchtabokatables and Christoph Schneider of Die Firma.
In 1992, Kruspe made his first trip to the United States with Till Lindemann and Oliver "Ollie" Riedel. He realized that he did not want to make American music and concentrated on creating a unique German sound. Kruspe, Riedel and Schneider started working together on a new project in 1993. Finding it difficult to write both music and lyrics, Kruspe persuaded Lindemann, whom he had overheard singing while he was working, to join the fledgling group.
The band called themselves Rammstein-Flugschau (Rammstein Airshow) after the 1988 Ramstein air show disaster. Guitarist Paul Landers said the spelling of Ramstein with the extra "m" was a mistake. After the band became popular, the band members denied the connection to the air show disaster and said that their name was inspired by the giant doorstop-type devices found on old gates, called Rammsteine. The extra "m" in the band's name makes it translate literally as "ramming stone".
A contest was held in Berlin for amateur bands in 1994, the winner of which would receive access to a professional recording studio for a whole week. Kruspe, Riedel, Schneider, and Lindemann entered and won the contest with a 4-track demo tape with demo versions of songs from Herzeleid, written in English. This sparked Landers' attention, who wanted in on the project upon hearing their demo. To complete their sound, Rammstein attempted to recruit Christian "Flake" Lorenz, who had played with Landers in Feeling B. Though initially hesitant, Lorenz eventually agreed to join the band. Later, Rammstein were signed by Motor Music.
Rammstein began to record their first studio album, Herzeleid, in March 1995 with producer Jacob Hellner. They released their first single "Du riechst so gut" that August and released the album in September. Later that year, they toured with Clawfinger in Warsaw and Prague. Rammstein headlined a 17-show tour of Germany in December, which did much to boost the band's popularity and establish them as a credible live act. They went on several tours throughout early 1996, releasing their second single titled "Seemann" on 8 January.
On 27 March 1996, Rammstein performed on MTV's Hanging Out in London, their first performance in the UK. Their first major boost in popularity outside Germany came when Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor chose two Rammstein songs, "Heirate mich" and "Rammstein", during his work as music director for the David Lynch 1997 film Lost Highway. The soundtrack for the film was released in the U.S. in late 1996 and later throughout Europe in April 1997. Rammstein went on to tour through Germany, Austria, and Switzerland from September to October 1996, performing an anniversary concert on 27 September called "100 years of Rammstein". Guests to the concert included Moby, Bobo, and the Berlin Session Orchestra, while Berlin director Gert Hof was responsible for the light show.
Sehnsucht and Live aus Berlin (1996–2000)
Rammstein started recording Sehnsucht in November 1996 at the Temple Studios in Malta. The album was again produced by Jacob Hellner. "Engel", the first single from the album, was released on 1 April 1997 and reached gold status in Germany on 23 May. This prompted the release of a fan edition of the single, named Engel – Fan Edition. This contained two previously unreleased songs, "Feuerräder" and "Wilder Wein". Release of the second single from the album Sehnsucht was "Du hast", which hit the German single charts August 1997 at No. 5.
Rammstein then continued touring in the summer while Sehnsucht was released on 22 August 1997. The album reached No. 1 in Germany after two weeks in the charts. Simultaneously, Herzeleid and both Sehnsucht singles ("Du hast" and "Engel") were in the Top 20 of the German charts. Rammstein continued to headline sold-out shows throughout Europe in September and October. On 5 December 1997, they embarked on their first tour of the United States as the opening act for KMFDM. In July 1998, the band released a cover of the song Stripped, originally released by Depeche Mode in early 1986; it was included on the tribute album For the Masses, the Rammstein version obtained moderate success in Germany and Austria.
On 22–23 August 1998, Rammstein played to over 17,000 fans at the Wuhlheide in Berlin; the biggest show the band had played there up to that date. Supporting acts were Danzig, Nina Hagen, Joachim Witt and Alaska. The show was professionally filmed, intended to be released on their upcoming live DVD, Live aus Berlin.
Rammstein embarked on a live tour with Korn, Ice Cube, Orgy and Limp Bizkit called the Family Values Tour in September through to late October 1998. Continuing their success in the US, Sehnsucht received Gold record status there on 2 November.
The band was nominated at the MTV European Music Awards for Best Rock Act and performed "Du hast" live on 12 November that year.
Rammstein had further success in 1999, starting off the year in February with a nomination for Best Metal Performance at the 41st-annual Grammy Awards. A year after it was filmed, the Live aus Berlin concert was released on CD on 30 August 1999, with a limited edition double CD also available. Two weeks after it was released, Live aus Berlin went to No. 2 in the German Album Charts. On 13 September and 26 November 1999, the video and DVD versions of the concert were released respectively. Further popularity ensued with the inclusion of "Du hast" in The Matrix: Music from the Motion Picture.
Reise, Reise (2004)
Liebe ist für alle da (2009)
Till Lindemann – lead vocals, harmonica (1994–present)
Richard Z. Kruspe – lead guitar, backing vocals (1994–present)
Paul Landers – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1994–present)
Oliver Riedel – bass guitar (1994–present)
Christoph Schneider – drums, percussion (1994–present)