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New Rammstein song comments on plastic surgery

Silke Wünsch
April 5, 2022

With every new Rammstein release comes a clever advertising campaign. Their new single, "Zick Zack" plays with the morbid appeal of a "botched" cosmetic surgery.

Rammstein performance with flame throwers.
It wouldn't be Rammstein without flamesImage: Friso Gentsch/dpa/picture alliance

Rammstein and beauty: Two terms that don't quite belong together.

The band rather stands out for their martial aesthetics, combining fire, smoke and grim make-up. Even when they wear slick suits, the six musicians in their mid to late 50s never tried to hide the wrinkles.

But that has now changed. Like many other stars and people concerned with the effects of ageing, they decided to go under the plastic surgeon's knife.

An April Fool's joke and lots of Botox

Well, not quite. In this case, the surgeons were likely called Photoshop and Instagram. New pictures of the band members were posted online to promote their new single, "Zick Zack." Their faces appeared disfigured by surgery and lots of Botox.

Photos of the transformed faces of Rammstein band members.
Photos of the transformed faces of the band members were posted on their Instagram accountImage: rammsteinofficial/instagram

They also announced on April 1 that they had invested in a "cutting-edge company" in Berlin, called the "Zick Zack Beauty Clinic."

It quickly became clear that it was an April Fool's joke. But even though the clinic does not exist, a phone number was provided. Those who called it could hear a short message and few bars from the new single, along with the release date, on April 7 at 6:00 p.m.

Fans already know what they can expect: the typical Rammstein sound.

Hard guitars, even harder drums and brisk keyboards, along with Till Lindemann's unique rap. With a deep and eerie voice, he sings about how people get rid of alleged evils through plastic surgery.

The band's Instagram pictures comment on the almost dehumanizing impact of too frequent plastic surgery procedures. The musicians' photoshopped faces bring to mind different tabloid stars. Rammstein bassist Oliver Riedel, for example, bears a striking resemblance to the German designer Harald Glööckler, who has had multiple cosmetic surgeries that have turned him into an art figure.

Designer Harald Glööckler waring heavy make-up and large rings.
Designer Harald Glööckler Image: Eventpress Golejewski/Eventpress/picture alliance

Social criticism through provocation

As so often, Rammstein deal with a social issue in their very own provocative way.

For example, their 2019 single "Deutschland" stirred controversy with the teaser video showing Rammstein frontman Till Lindemann and three other band members lined up on a gallows with a rope around their neck, dressed in striped prison uniforms, and one of them wearing a yellow Jewish badge — a depiction of an execution scene in a Nazi concentration camp. Many people condemned it as a tasteless exploitation of Holocaust imagery.

When the complete video was released, it became clear that the scene was a reference to one of many episodes from German history.

"Germany" is "a song about the ambiguous relationship to Germany among the people who live there ... and what this Germany has done, so to speak, in its recent historical development," German media researcher Joachim Trebbe told DW at the time. In his view, there was "no glorification or abuse of any symbols" in the video.

Rammstein without explosives would not be Rammstein

In their work, Rammstein have always tackled the abysses of the human soul, of human existence. Sex, violence, madness, fear and death are their central themes.

Even the band's name is reminiscent of a terrible accident. In August 1988, two planes collided at an air show at the US military base in Ramstein; 35 people died in the flames, and another 35 died as a result of severe burns in the hospital.

A song on the first Rammstein record "Herzeleid" refers to the tragedy: "Rammstein / a person is burning / Rammstein / the smell of meat is in the air / Rammstein / a child is dying / Rammstein / the sun is shining / Rammstein / a sea of ​​flames." At concerts, Till Lindemann's vest would catch fire during the song.

Rammstein singer Till Lindemann wearing a silver jacket in flames.
Till Lindemann in flamesImage: Hubert Boesl/dpa/picture-alliance

The same record evoked a series of taboo topics: "Weisses Fleisch" (White Meat) is about pedophilia, "Heirate Mich" (Marry Me) tells the story of a necrophile who digs up his wife's corpse in order to have sex with her. The chorus, "Hei-hei-heirate mich," was often interpreted as echoing the Hitler salute, "Heil." Till Lindemann's Teutonic singing style, with a rolling R, also contributed to Rammstein's reputation as a Nazi band.

Rammstein is not a Nazi band

In the band's 28-year history, Rammstein have largely been able to dispel this accusation. But many critics resent the blatant breaches of taboos that are the trademark of the band and singer Till Lindemann in his solo projects.

But the Berlin musicians keep doing their thing, well aware that it pleases their millions of fans around the world.

Track list via geocaching

The advertising campaigns for new albums and singles work brilliantly every time.

Their upcoming album, "Zeit" (Time) which includes the "Zick Zack" single, will be released on April 29.

In reference to the title of the album and its first single released in March, the band posted a short video saying that 11 "Zeit Capsules" (time capsules) were hidden around the globe. The coordinates were available on the Rammstein website, and fans from all over the world searched for them with GPS devices.

From Australia to Finland, from Mexico to eastern Germany's Brandenburg, the coordinates led to a box with a QR code, which then revealed one of the song titles.

As so often, Rammstein — or rather their PR agency — plays with their fans, making it incredibly exciting and rewarding to follow their work.

Rammstein is also about to embark on their international stadium tour, which had been postponed for two years due to the pandemic. The European leg starts on May 15 in Prague and ends on August 4 in Ostend, Belgium. From August 21, they will then tour the American continent, from Canada to Mexico.