GETTING INTO: German Music

Standing in the middle of a field on a rainy day singing along to your favourite band with 50,000 people by your side is a pretty standard occurrence during Great Britain’s festival season. And, thanks to the Download 2016 headliners announcement, we now know that it will be happening again next year when thousands will flock to Donington to be in full voice for ‘Run To The Hills’, ‘Iron Man’, and… ‘Du Reicht So Gut’? German industrial metal pioneers Rammstein top the bill once again and remain the only non-English singing band to do so – but what is the appeal of Rammstein compared to the other rock bands, and why do they break the mould? Whether it’s the crazy pyro-filled live show, the onstage antics, or the brutally infectious riffs, they’ve certainly won the hearts of millions worldwide who can just about mumble along to the verses of their biggest songs. Yet, there’s plenty of massive European bands that have been overlooked by the British audience that haven’t been able to break down the door quite like Rammstein have.

A very small pool of headline bands from Britain and America meant that at least one name from Muse, Metallica, Kiss and Slipknot appeared at the top of almost every rock and metal festival throughout Europe this year, so the German acts truly came out in force with Die Toten Hosen, Beatsteaks, Broilers and Die Ärzte side-project Farin Urlaub Racing Team all occupying sub-headline or higher spots – but nowhere to be seen in the UK. German bands have failed to excite us to the extent that Rammstein have, besides from a 5 minute excitement around Guano Apes, or maybe hearing Donots on Rock Against Bush back in 2004. Stadium headliners Beatsteaks‘ one-off UK headline show at Camden’s Koko sold out this summer, although it attracted a mostly German crowd who grabbed the opportunity to see their heroes in such an ‘intimate’ environment.

If you’re used to playing massive arenas and topping festivals throughout the mainland, then why would you want to come to the UK and start again? Successful and experienced bands are understandably not interested in taking a huge pay cut to risk being badly received; Scorpions‘ widely rumoured spat with Andy Copping shows the friction that can be created as the ‘Wind Of Change’ legends were supposedly offended by the size of their slot and paycheck that they was offered to them at Download Festival back in 2013 where they would have been closing the second stage while Slipknot took the top slot.

Die Toten Hosen and Die Ärzte are certainly the two big hitters of German rock music over the last 3 decades with a combined 25 Gold (or higher) certificated records between the two of them, whereas the biggest success either could muster in the UK would be the formers’ ‘Hier Kommt Alex’ appearing as a bonus track on Guitar Hero 3. But, with the members all hitting their 50s, it’s time to find a new breed of bands to take over and destroy the language barrier that has haunted them in the British marketplace.
We spoke to Stuttgart rockers Die Nerven who picked up ‘Best Act’ at the VIA! VUT Indie Awards in Germany this year, about the best of upcoming talent from their home country:

“The most nihilistic German band that ever existed. The lyrics are mainly written in Beamtendeutsch, the most distant and bureaucratic way of saying something in German.
Somebody told me their new album is going to contain some bouncy hip-hop stuff.”

Best tracks:
14 Tage Urlaub
All You Can Eat

“A bright shining Wave star of Northern Stuttgart’s musical and artistic collective based at Wagenhallen.”

Best tracks:
Spider’s Web

“Seriously the loudest band ever. Bone-crushing noise combined with the dumbest rhythm patterns possible. Only for the hardest of you.”

Best tracks:
Too Uptight

“A New Wave/rock band based in Leipzig, combining beautiful pop hooks with mind-blowing noise passages.”

Best tracks:
Circles Fuse

Die Nerven’s brand new album, ‘Out’, is available now, and you can download it from iTunes (here).

Written by Mike Heath (@MikeBeef) with contributions from Die Nerven