Live Review: Rammstein (Birmingham NEC, 25/02/12)

BLAZE OF GLORY: The German metallers threaten to literally bring the house down in Birmingham.

Frontman Till Lindemann laments about being ‘so cold’, whilst the stage glows a cool blue, but it’s only because the flames are that colour. The band can only be Rammstein.

Their catalogue is growled almost entirely in German, and the best-of album that they are touring, Made in Germany 1995-2011, charted at a meagre No.96. However, they have sold seventy-five thousand tickets at £45 each in the UK on this tour. Indeed, it’s their live shows that get everybody’s attention. After all, they can be seen from miles away.

They threaten to literally bring the house down with their signature pyrotechnics as almost every song features theatrical, fiery shenanigans. Face-mounted flamethrowers are set off to brutal cries of “bang bang!” during ‘Feuer Frei’, and poor keyboardist Flake Lorenz plays whilst being cooked in a cauldron, during ode to cannibalism ‘Mein Teil’. In perhaps the most infamous of the routines, Lindemann then sodomizes Lorenz before firing his man-juice over the audience – an interesting way to cool everybody down during the encore.

Fallen angels: Rammstein perform ‘Engel’.

Despite this chaos, there is an unusual clash. Rammstein have been labeled as ‘dance-metal’. Rammstein unite electronic euphoria with metallic fury perfectly. A deep bass drum pulses a march, guitars crunch and synthesizers wail at a volume to rattle the rafters. Dance. Metal. Two things that should induce the ultimate bedlam. However, the audience is often quite still as the sheer scale of a show unlike any other means that nobody wants to look away.

As such an intricate and seemingly dangerous show, even in the massive LG Arena, it is no secret that the show is solidly choreographed. Moments like those are exactly that – routines. However, the fact that the concert is identical every night doesn’t damage the fun. The industrial ruggedness of the stage and their sound means that the show feels raw and that everybody really is watching six musicians risking ending each show extra crispy.

Even without human crushes, the heat means that the atmosphere became a thick haze of smoke and sweaty steam, making it impossible to breathe. Still everybody is distracted enough by a concert so musically and visually brilliant that comfort and breathing are no longer a priority.

Rammstein seem closer than ever, obviously in a literal sense. Rumours of an impending retirement and the release of a best-of mean that it wouldn’t be a surprise if this was their farewell tour. If that is the case, nobody could dream of a grander finale.


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