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RAMMSTEIN from East Berlin are a huge proposition in Germany where their powerful mix of Metal and popular titled 'Tanzmetal' by the band, allied to some outrageous sperm shooting stage shows has cracked the national charts wide open. Quite uniquely for a German language Rock band RAMMSTEIN also saw considerable sales and market impact in America. The band's title is taken from an obscure town in Germany made infamous by a tragic accident during an air show in which a lighting gantry injured 80 people.

RAMMSTEIN came to attention via a an early 1994 demo which immediately secured the band a deal. The band had been assembled by guitarist Paul Landers and keyboard player 'Doktor' Flake Lorenz of the group FEELING B. Joining them would be former drummer of FIRST ARSCH Till Lindemann on vocals, second guitarist Richard Kruspe-Bernstein of ORGASM DEATH GIMMICK, ex-THE INCHTABOKATABLES bassist Oliver Riedel and ex-DIE FIRMA drummer Christoph Schneider. On hearing what RAMMSTEIN had to offer producer Jacob Hellner demanded to work with the band and since their debut album 'Herzeleid' RAMMSTEIN have been at the top of the German charts on more than one occasion.

RAMMSTEIN debuted with the 1995 single 'Du Riechst So Gut', made available in a scented digipack format. The accompanying album 'Herzeleid' would make an immediate impression and touring to promote its release found RAMMSTEIN sharing stages in Europe with PROJECT PITCHFORK in October before hooking up with Swedes CLAWFINGER for dates in Prague and Warsaw the following month. By December the band were headlining their own tour. A second single 'Seemann' emerged in January of 1996 and would signal a further bout of touring in Germany, accompanying CLAWFINGER once again upfront of gigs with the RAMONES as part of their 'Adios Amigos' farewell tour. There would be little let up for RAMMSTEIN as in February more headline dates were embarked upon with DJ KOM acting as guest support. In May the group got to play in far flung Hong Kong as part of the Polygram World Congress show before resuming German touring once again. This latest set of dates seeing FARMER BOYS and MINK STOLE as openers. RAMMSTEIN would also put in their first performance at the Cologne 'Bizarre' festival.

The band's innovative approach had already made waves outside of Germany and in August famed film director David Lynch would choose a brace of RAMMSTEIN tracks, 'Rammstein' and 'Heirate Mich', for use on the soundtrack to his 'Lost Highway' film. In the typically ambitious that fans of the band were by now beginning to expect RAMMSTEIN put on the '100 Years Of Rammstein' extravaganza in Berlin, supported by a full orchestra and MOBY. The year 1996 was closed off with another round of German touring, this time with SECRET DISCOVERY fulfilling the opening role.

1997 would bring even greater rewards for the band and begin to open up the American market for them. The year started well with the 'Herzeleid' album re-entering the German charts. RAMMSTEIN got back onto the road supported by ESKIMOS & EGYPT. The single 'Engel' would sell over a quarter of a million copies warranting a gold award from the German music recording industry. 'The 'Herzeleid' album would soon follow suit and before the year was out these two releases would be re-categorised as double gold each attaining 450'000 sales.

The band would be active on the European summer festival season gracing Belgium's 'Waldrock' event, 'La Locomotive' in Paris, 'Pinkpop' in Holland and 'WuhlRock', 'Full Force' and the 'Bizarre' festival once more in Germany. The 'Sehnsucht' album, released with no less than six different sleeve artwork variants, would score platinum status in August with over a million pre-sales easily putting it at no. 1 in it's opening week. During September the band toured with KMFDM as special guests as the band's cover version of KRAFTWERK's 'Das Modell' also gave the band a top 5 hit. The roles would reverse for RAMMSTEIN and KMFDM in December as the Germans supported the latter on tour in America.

April of 1998 found RAMMSTEIN back on the road in America but this time headlining. Commencing on the 24th April in San Francisco RAMMSTEIN topped a bill over HANZEL UND GRETYL as America truly began to awake to the band's potential. Meanwhile in Europe the band toured Spain, Portugal and France and a re-worked version of 'Du Riechst So Gut' was issued complete with remixes courtesy of FAITH NO MORE and KMFDM. The band's next single offering would be a radical re-interpretation of DEPECHE MODE's 'Stripped' marking a return to the European festival circuit as RAMMSTEIN showed at the Danish 'Roskilde' and Dutch 'Dynamo' events as well as Germany's own 'Rock In Park'.

RAMMSTEIN pulled off another coup by headlining to 17'000 people in Berlin with guests NINA HAGEN and DANZIG. The following month they would be back on American soil headlining the Chicago 'Woodstock' festival before joining the mammoth 'Family Values' tour billed alongside KORN, ORGY, LIMP BIZKIT and ICE CUBE. This exposure would aid 'Sehnsucht's half a million American album sales that year.

RAMMSTEIN's achievement overseas would be recognised in March of 1999 as the band were presented with an Echo award for 'Most Successful German Artist Abroad'. The group would venture further afield in a union with the mighty KISS for shows in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. By July America had drawn the band back again for a lengthy headline stint joined by guests SOULFLY and SKUNK ANANSIE before their first showing in Japan at the 'FujiRock' festival. The 'Live Aus Berlin' album, issued on both CD and DVD formats during August, would enter the German charts at no. 1.

For much of 2000 all remained quiet on the RAMMSTEIN front as the band prepared the upcoming 'Mutter' album. The first single 'Sonne', backed with a disturbing video portraying band members as mining dwarves subservient to an evil junkie Snow White, received massive international exposure. Live work had commenced in Australia as part of the 'Big Day Out' festivals with further dates in Japan.

During September of 2001 the band would hook up with co-headliners SLIPKNOT and SYSTEM OF A DOWN for the American 'Pledge Of Allegiance' tour. The tour persevered in spite of the September 11th terrorist attacks. However, the group would be forced to pull out mid way through the dates due to an illness in guitarist Paul Landers' family.

RAMMSTEIN toured Britain during May of 2002 with support from RAGING SPEEDHORN and AMERICAN HEAD CHARGE. A batch of European dates had to be pulled keyboard player Flake Lorenz was struck down with an acute case of food poisoning.

RAMMSTEIN would be back in action during October, launching an unusual new single 'Feuer Frei!', a musical contribution to the opening scenes of the Rob Cohen movie 'XXX'. The single not only added exclusive RAMMSTEIN remixes but also cover versions of 'Du Hast' and 'Bück Dich' courtesy of BATTERY.

As rumours spread of RAMMSTEIN's apparent decision to go out on top in early 2003 it was revealed guitarist Richard Kruspe-Bernstein was working up a new band venture entitled EMIGRATE. Later that same year rumours suggested a working collaboration between the band and the notorious Russian lesbian Pop duo TATU. What did emerge though was an artistic union of a completely different kind. The Sven Helbig led 110 piece Dresden Symphony Orchestra premiered the 'Mein Herz Brennt' classical song cycle on 20th November at the city's Kulturpalast, this music directly inspired by the lyrics of RAMMSTEIN. Vocals for this epic came courtesy of German actress Katharina Thalbach and René Pape, an opera star at the New York Metropolitan Opera.

A new album, 'Reise Reise' produced once again by Jacob Hellner, was crafted in Spain with additional choirs and string sections added in Berlin. RAMMSTEIN shot a video for new single 'Mein Teil', a track inspired by notorious internet cannibal Armin Meiwes, in June of 2004, working with Zoran Bihac. Reports suggested alternate B side mixes, 'PSB You Are What You Eat Mix' and the Electro 'PSB There Are No Guitars On This Mix', were conducted by none other than the PET SHOP BOYS. Meantime, the band's profile was kept in the public eye as the track 'Mein Herz Brennt' was in heavy TV rotation as the soundtrack to a Mercedes Benz commercial. 'Mein Teil' would enter the German singles charts at an impressive no. 2. German headline shows would be announced for December. The bands 24th November gig at Helsinki's Hartwall Arena in Finland sold out of all 12,000 tickets in less than half an hour. The North American release of 'Reise, Reise' came in late November, the album selling 26,716 copies in its first week of release according to Nielsen SoundScan to debut at position No. 61. RAMMSTEIN took on a second leg of European tour dates in February 2005 with support from avant-garde Finnish act APOCALYPTICA.

'Reise Reise' was given a belated release in Japan during April of 2005. Clad in completely different artwork to its international counterpart, the Japanese version also added two extra tracks in '"Mein Teil (You Are What You Eat Edit)' remix by PET SHOP BOYS and 'Amerika (Digital Hardcore Mix)' remix by ALEX EMPIRE. The band's debut South Korean gig took place at Olympic Park in Seoul on August 10th.

It would be revealed that RAMMSTEIN would be turning a new album around quicker than expected due to the fact that they had recorded many more songs than needed for 'Reise Reise'. The band entered a Berlin studio in June to put down more tracks to bring the sessions up to full album length. Notably, the track 'Stirb Nicht Vor Mir (Don't Die Before I Do)', featured a guest appearance from Sharleen Spiteri, female lead vocalist of the Scottish Pop Rock band TEXAS. Naturally, the resulting 'Rosenrot' provided controversy with the band's first Spanish language song 'Te Quiero Puta' ("I Love You Whore") and the gay themed 'Mann Gegen Mann', with a repeated chorus of "Schwule" (German for "faggot").

October gigs across Central and South America saw RAMMSTEIN performing in Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Colombia and Argentina. 'Rosenrot' scored no. 1 placings in the national album charts in Finland, Austria and Germany. In their homeland, the album sold over 200,000 copies in its first week of sale, granting it immediate platinum status. 'Rosenrot' received its long-awaited North American release on March 28th 2006 via Universal Music. Upon issue the album shifted over 21,000 copies in its first week of sale to land at number 47 on the national US charts.

RAMMSTEIN issued the 'Völkerball' CD / DVD set in November, comprising 140 minutes of live footage filmed in the UK, France, Germany and Russia plus a 90 minute documentary. A total sale of 12 million copies of all studio albums - half of this outside the band's home country - made RAMMSTEIN to the international most successful German singing Rock act.

In Summer 2008 the band started to work on the sixth full-length album. They completed the first part of the recording sessions on 21st December, with drums, guitar, bass and some of vocal tracks being laid down before the end of the year. After announcing the tourdates for 2009 and 2010 the first single 'Pussy' came out on September 18th 2009. The album again containing 11 tracks like the first five releases was finally released in October that same year. 'Liebe Ist Für Alle Da' charted in Germany as well as in Switzerland and in Austria on number one. After three weeks German authorities censored the album resulting in a reduction of the number of tracks to ten for a public available version. The song 'Ich Tu Dir Weh' dealing with sado-maso practices was eliminated from the tracklist for this uncensored version of the album.

Garry Sharpe-Young 

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