DVD released by the German metal band Rammstein in late 2003/early 2004. (The European release in PAL format was December 1, 2003, but it wasn't released in American-compatible NTSC format until January 2004.) It contains all the band's music videos to date, some live footage, interviews, "making of" for a couple of the videos, and some miscellaneous band advertising.

Rammstein's videos aren't always simple or easy to interpret; some took multiple viewings before I understood them, and there are a few, like the Seemann video, that I still don't really get. Even so, most if not all of them are visually beautiful and can be watched without looking for deeper meanings.

The Du Hast video is case in point. Lyrics slamming on marriage, necking, guns, alcohol, setting people on fire, blowing up cars, parts transparently copied or inspired by Reservoir Dogs--doesn't really require much thought to enjoy. But after a few watchings it becomes clearer: the more horrific abuse scenes are the wild, worried imagination of the woman as she waits for her boyfriend to emerge; he isn't really being drugged or set on fire, and is in fact having a grand ol' time with his friends. And blowing up the car with her in it is his way of reaffirming that his loyalty is to the group, not the girlfriend.

Abovementioned Seemann video looks a bit like they tried to be artsy and failed. The band, in hairdoes oddly remniscient of pineapples, are trying to pull a ship through a sea of sand, as a girl who looks like she might either be a goth or a hooker wanders around. She's pretty. The shots with all the candles are pretty. The sand looks like it might be symbolic. But all the scenes on the boat look so ridiculous that it just spoils the effect. IMO all this one succeeds in doing is looking incredibly artsy-fartsy.

Ich Will, on the other hand, kicks some serious ass. The song kicks ass, the message of the video kicks ass, and the video itself kicks ass. The band rob a bank as a publicity stunt, which of course allows them to introduce bombs, Really Big Guns, targets painted on chests, security guards pissing their pants, and generally a whole lot of ass-kicking. It's too violent to get rotation on MTV, but hell, it's a good video. Watch the "making of" section with English subtitles if you want more on the statement they were trying to make.

The video for Stripped, a cover of the song by Depeche Mode, got the band in some pretty deep shit with the media. As a German band, Rammstein is always fighting against a persistent stereotype of Nazism, so you wouldn't expect them to use Leni Riefenstahl's footage of the Berlin Olympics for one of their videos. Duh. To be fair, the footage is pure artistry and the sections they use have no political connotations at all, but it wasn't exactly their most brilliant move.

There are two videos for Du Riechst so Gut, just to resolve any confusion. One was made in 1995, before Rammstein had any major success, so it's very low-budget and basically involves them standing around half-naked with a big orange flower. Rather boring. The second one, made in 1998, has a medieval, fairy tale feel to it: a pretty girl at a masquerade ball, and a werewolf with six faces (there are six members in the band) tracking her by scent. Worth it if only for the chance to see the guitarist in a ripped-up red ballroom gown.

The rest of the videos: Just as Du Hast has elements lifted from Reservoir Dogs, Engel is based loosely on From Dusk Till Dawn. Apparently the band are all fans of Quentin Tarantino. Sonne is a bizarre, twisted version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves; Links 2 3 4 is completely animated, as it's rather hard to make real ants dance in formation. The Mutter video is rather creepy but a bit too simplistic, and only really makes sense if you can understand the lyrics. Since Rammstein got to do the opening scene of that godawful Vin Diesel movie xXx, the video for Feuer Frei! is one of the simplest they've ever made, concert footage with scenes from the movie spliced in.

The live footage gives a pretty good sample of what Rammstein's concerts are like. In other words, there's lots and lots of pyro. The infamous dildo song, Bück Dich, is not included, but there are flaming microphone stands, flaming coats, boots that shoot fireworks, masks that spit fire, flamethrowers... you get the idea. Their lead singer isn't a licensed pyrotechnician for nothing.

The "making of" sections are interesting, if you're into that sort of thing. I like the ones for Sonne and Ich Will, because the way they pulled off the size differences in Sonne is interesting and I just plain love the Ich Will video. Just make sure you have subtitles turned on if you're not fluent in German.



Live Footage:

Making of:


(Lichtspielhaus, by the way, is an archaic German word for 'cinema.')

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