Monday, July 14, 2008

Rammstein - Left or Right?

A short analysis on the politics of Rammstein

I thought this might be of interest for assorted lefts. I've written this article for a music fanzine in my own area, but it certainly has political relevance, especially for fans of the German industrial metal group. The politics of Rammstein have been debated for years, but those who I have spoken with have always been a little unsure of the actual stance of the band. Hopefully this article will go towards clearing this debate up in some ways. Any constructive criticism is appreciated.


Politics are always tied to music, whether it be in the lyrics of your favourite songs or the financial backing of the music company promoting the artist. Many artists repeatedly use their abilities to express political opinion, and as a result of this their fan base is moulded partly through such ideas. However, German industrial heavy metal act Rammstein have consistently found themselves courting both ends of the political spectrum since they formed in 1993. This is due to a number of reasons : not least that the combination of their reputation as the world’s biggest selling German-speaking band as well as their stirring, almost orchestral, lyrics and music have resulted in the modern day acolytes of Hitler and Nazism embracing the band with little enquiry into the band’s political leanings.
Therefore, I am attempting to look at the truth behind Rammstein, and where they see themselves upon the political spectrum, if anywhere.


There is no doubt that within fascism internationally, there is a great deal of support for Rammstein. A lot of this support is simply derived from the fact that the band are German, without any real delving into either the contents of the lyrics or the views of the band itself. For instance, on the well-known fascist message board (Details of nazi site removed by editor in line with our 'No Platform' policy), FarStar88 states, “I'm from South Africa and have recently been introduced to a German Rock band called Rummstein (I think that's how it's spelt). I don't understand the lyrics but the feeling that the music conjures for me is pure Germanic strength and pride.”. FarStar88 later posted again in a darker fashion, “I want to go into battle with that music blaring over some serious speakers. It'll scare the **** out of the Niggers over here.”

It is interesting to note that although there is an underlying number of people, including fascists, who believe that Rammstein may have their roots in White Power music, there is no well-known critical study into the band which proves that this is the case. There is no doubt that the band have been criticised for flirting with fascist imagery, the most famous incident when they used clips from the work of Leni Riefenstahl for their music video “Stripped”. Critics have also jumped quickly to brand the band politically - Jam Showbiz (April 2001) described their album Mutter as "music to invade Poland to”.


Rammstein over the years have courted their share of controversy, once spending a night in a US jail back in 1999 after using a giant dildo at a show in Massachusetts. They have consistently by their own admission pushed the boundaries of good taste, enraging Christian morality campaigners wherever they go, particularly in 2004 when they were accused of trivialising the Armin Meiwes cannibalism case in their video for “Mein Teil“. They were also on the end of a vicious press backlash after the Columbine school massacre when it was discovered that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold - the two boys who carried out the shootings - were discovered to be huge fans of the band. Due to pressure by right-wing Christian protest groups, the band issued a press release, stating, "The members of Rammstein express their condolences and sympathy to all affected by the recent tragic events in Denver. They wish to make it clear that they have no lyrical content or political beliefs that could have possibly influenced such behaviour. Additionally, members of Rammstein have children of their own, in whom they continually strive to instill healthy and non-violent values."

It is also interesting to note that after the Belsan hostage crisis, the Russian state claimed that the Chechen rebels responsible had been listening to Rammstein throughout the siege, “listened to German hard rock group Rammstein on personal stereos during the siege to keep themselves edgy and fired up." This however was never independently verified.

The truth is that despite their “on the edge” stage shows and provocative material, Rammstein have always unequivocally denied that they are nazis or have fascist sympathies. The use of Leni Riefenstahl’s works in “Stripped” caused the media to publicly question Rammstein’s political allegiances. Angered by the claims by the press, Rammstein wrote and recorded “Links 2 3 4”, designed as a riposte towards the insinuations of fascist ideology. Kruspe-Bernstein states that the song means, "'my heart beats on the left, two, three, four.' It's simple. If you want to put us in a political category, we're on the left side, and that's the reason we made the song."


The one conclusion we can take from this is that Rammstein have been mainly caught up in a political debate that they have no real interest in whatsoever. They have sadly been branded due to their own tendency to push morality to the limit and damn the consequences. Rammstein will undoubtedly be the subject of much more controversy as they continue to produce music, but one thing is for certain - they will live by their own motto, which according to drummer Doom Schneider is simply : “Do your own thing. And overdo it!”. Rammstein are hardly active Trotskyists, but let’s be fair - they’re not fascists.


Renegade Eye said...

They are not Prussian Blue.

Anonymous said...

Kruspe's wedding to his ex wife was a jewish ceremony. I would think that clearly makes him against nazis lol

Anonymous said...

u know there is such a thing as left wing ''nazis'' .. rammstein are just very germanic .. nazi is just a word .. means fuck all .. it would be good to go bk and have them play at a nazi rally tho lol . sieg heil

Anonymous said...

Somethings very interesting
RAmmestein songs contains deep feelings of GERMAN PRIDE and Frustration over their historical events.
Just like Viking who are proud prople
Germans are extremely proud of who they are and they should be...

However, Rammestein songs contain
Frustration of how glorious nations fell into loss...losing is shameful,,, it brings deeply charged emotionally feelings....

I don't think we should judge for views nor assume based on music alone...

Is is in a way music a form to discharge those complicated emotions of a population of a nation like Germany.....

But Germany is the future of Europe...the economic backbone...of Europe...

I applaud Rammestein in being absolutely truthful to their beliefs....

Anonymous said...

to be totally honest i believe they are neither left wing nor right wing. They are just proud Germans and proud at the fact that imperialism from the U.S.A, Great Britain, and the Soviet union has ended in their country and they are free to be from a proud and strong nation with proud and strong people.