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German cannibal inspires hard rockers Rammstein to new hit

August 27, 2004

The hard rock band - Rammstein.
BERLIN — It will inevitably result in a book and a film, but the story of Germany's cannibal has already brought a summer chart hit to the country's masters of the macabre: the hard rock band Rammstein.

"He loves me so much he could eat me. The soft and the hard parts are all on the menu, it's so good with seasoning and flambed," go the not so subtle lyrics of Rammstein's Mein Teil, or My Part.

For those who may have forgotten, Armin Meiwes was jailed in Germany in January for more than eight years for killing and eating a willing victim: both of them tried to eat the man's dismembered penis before he died.

The story of the "cannibal of Rotenburg" was manna from hell for the group's singer, Till Lindemann: "It's so sick that it becomes fascinating and there just has to be a song about it," he said recently.

Mein Teil rocketed into second place in its first week in the charts in Germany after its release in early August, before slipping down to sixth place by the middle of the month.

The video clip, which shows the musicians held on a leash by a transvestite and rolling around in mud, has sparked heated debate and is only being aired by music television channel MTV after 11:00 pm.

A few other stations have been giving day-time airings.

But controversy is not new to Rammstein, which, with an extra "m", takes its name from the site of a 1988 aircrash in which 70 people died.

The six piece group from Hamburg, northern Germany came together in 1993 and their particular fusion of industrial and progressive rock and heavy metal have made them one of the better-known bands abroad.

Rammstein's first success came in 1995, with Herzeleid, or heartbreak, but it was the group's second album Sehnsucht, nostalgia, two years later that really put their name up in lights.

The disc went platinum in Germany and the United States.

Their pyrotechnical stage show, including firebreathers, explosions and flame throwers, has contributed to their notoriety.

They have also been known to walk on stage through a giant fake womb in their underwear.

It's a repertoire that has won them fans as far afield as Japan and Australia, not to mention their wide following in Europe.

But it has won them few fans among police in the United States.

Lindemann's musings in his deep, guttural howl and grinding against the group's keyboard player during the song Bueck Dich, bend over, earned the two a few hours in custody after a show in Massachusetts.

Other incidents they could have done without, such as when the teenage gunmen in the 1999 Columbine highschool massacre, in which 12 people were killed, declared that Rammstein was their favourite group.

That same year, though, the band won the Echo award in Germany for "best artist abroad" and received a prestigious Grammy nomination in the United States.

Film-maker David Lynch also included two of their songs on the soundtrack to his dark cinema classic Lost Highway.

Even Kurt Cobain, the late and legendary frontman for the grunge group Nirvana, had described them as a dream band. – Sapa-AFP

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