|Berlin's industrial metal sextet Rammstein was already provocative when the band nabbed unwanted U.S. press attention as favorites of the two young sociopaths behind 1999's tragic high school shootings in Columbine, Colorado. This concert video, expertly produced during a huge outdoor concert the previous summer, won't dissipate the tension between Rammstein's fans and social critics looking to find the links between such violence and the band's intense, sweeping music, especially on this uncensored edit of their nearly 100-minute set.
Sonically, the band lashes the clangorous legacy of industrial countrymen like Einsturzende Neubaten to the simpler, head-banging power chords of metallurgists like the Scorpions, Rammstein's front line of rasping, squealing guitars laced with synthesizer and pummeled by splashy drum work. The music's focal point is vocalist Till Lindemann, who half-sings, half-bellows in a guttural bass that makes most metal men sound like countertenors, an effect underscored by Lindemann's beefy, muscular physique as he stalks the stage. His macho growl and restless movement contrast with the largely motionless postures of his bandmates, which include a vampiric guitarist, a rail-thin keyboardist, and an even more spectral, bald bassist whose black-taped skull nods to S&M couture.
A massive stage set that's one part Borg, one part Blade Runner, onstage pyrotechnics, and piercing klieg lights that sweep the vast crowd pointedly synthesize Third Reich with apocalypse as rapturous fans sing along with "Du Hast" ("You Hate") or "Heirate Mich" ("Worship Me"). When the mesmerizing sturm und drang finally pauses, it's due to a graphic, simulated homosexual rape (on "Bueck Dich") that earns this tape its advisory, and will repulse all but the most ardent fans. --Sam Sutherland