DVD REVIEW: RAMMSTEIN – “Rammstein: Paris”
One of Germany’s biggest rock exports Rammstein is about to release onto the world their brand new DVD titled ‘Rammstein: Paris’. The entire show was shot live in the French capital and has since gone on to be played in movie houses in 46 countries. It is finally getting the DVD release that their fans globally have been clamoring for.
Since the turn of the 21-century not many bands have attempted to put on such a grand scale show with pyrotechnics, theatrics and exuberantly played music that makes fans react in such an extravagant way. Director Jonas Akarlund has worked on a few Rammstein videos including the infamous pseudo-pornographic clip for their song Pussy. On this DVD he has done quite a remarkable job capturing the energy of the stadium on film, with so many cameras it’s like you are at the concert and you’re able to access some of the most unique angles that can be seen. Also the director’s stylistic decision to switch at times from black and white to colour gives the lighting and the stage a more disturbing aesthetic, resembling a German Expressionistic style and that’s exactly what a Rammstein concert should be about, transporting you into a gothic world that is nightmarish, hedonistic and creates an emotional release especially for teenagers and young adults alike.
The concert opens with the band walking down some epic steps with front man Till Lindemann holding a torch (perhaps referencing Leni Riefenstahl’s aesthetically spectacular Nazi propaganda films of the 1936 Olympic games) with the audience clapping and getting right into this stirring grand entrance. The musicians have to walk over a bridge to get to the stage and a camera mounted in the ceiling looks down at the band from a bird’s eye view watching everything in sight. There are also a couple of cameras drifting through the audience on the floor and at least 10 GoPro cameras placed on stage with another 10 extra cameras ready to capture everything from the sweaty atmosphere to the stage theatrics.
The opening song of their set is the headbanging jam “Sonne” and that is where we really see Rammstein get their mojo on; they’re all dressed in black and singer Lindermann is wearing a thick leather jacket that looks quite militaristic and towards the end of the show he has even grown wings that are set on fire. Just in the few initial tracks we see fireworks, members of the band using flame throwing masks and keyboardist Christian Lorenz marching on a treadmill while he plays. Director Jonas Akurland had a few tricks up his sleeve incorporating slow motion shots of the band headbanging adding to the “New German Hardness” spectacle. Lindermann takes the definition of a front-man to a whole new level and seems to conquer whatever fireworks or flames come his way. There are also computer graphic enhancements were the singer appears to have a reptile tongue poking out of his mouth as he laughs sinisterly and keyboardist Lorenz conjuring lightning strikes from his finger tips whilst he is playing. Each song is introduced with cool graphics and the set list is well balance with old and new songs and of course they haven’t forgotten to include the XXX theme song “Feuer Frei!”
This type of grand scale show could only be done in an arena and it is spectacular and powerful to watch. Nightmarish elements creep in from time to time and we see Uber-monster Lindermann drenched in blood whilst wearing a dirty apron and singing into a microphone that doubles as the sheath of a big knife. At other times the flame throwing is directed straight at keyboardist Christian Lorenz for no reason at all or perhaps it might be because he appears to be the geekiest looking member of the band with his black sun glasses and tight clothing as he runs away with fireworks exploding out of his ass.
The spectacle of the show is not only to do with what’s happening on stage but how the audience reacts to the Rammstein circus. The crowd participation is also a highlight with the audience chanting like it was a Bundesliga football match.
For a metal band of Rammstein’s stature they don’t put much emphasis on fancy guitar or drum solos, their riffs are simple but very effective. They do have their fair share of soft ballads as well as the odd pop sounding song and certainly they’re not short of anthems such as the fan favorite hit single “Amerika”.
If all this wasn’t enough Lorenz does some crowd surfing in an inflated boat and there is a whole part of the show dedicated to BDSM that involves whipping, spanking, slave and masters with chains with Lindemann pretending to perform anal sex on a strap on dildo and a cock contraption spraying foam all over the crowd. The show ends spectacularly with confetti as the French fans are in awe and scream for an encore which of course they get.
Some argue that Rammstein are the torchbearers of modern shock rock but in an interview with Sam Dunn, Lorenz claims that they just play music that they like and are not trying to shock anyone. One thing is for sure the 6 piece couldn’t care less what people think of them and will gladly get themselves involved in any kind of controversy just for fun. This DVD represents Rammstein’s music and performance art in its truest if not most tasteful form, recorded for posterity with a lot of cameras, lots of close ups, stylistic editing, strong colors and bombastic special effects. Fans will be treated to an extensive show with over 2 hours’ worth of music and it’s the closest thing to witnessing the live show for real. This team effort is executed with such precision that it it unlikely any other live concert DVD will come close to this over the top experience.