Rammstein album banned from display in Germany

BERLIN (Billboard) - The German government has banned hard rock group Rammstein’s latest hit album from public display in stores because of its depictions of sado-masochism.

German band Rammstein pose on the red carpet before the MTV Europe Awards ceremony in Munich November 1, 2007. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

Officials were offended by the track “Ich tue Dir Weh” (“I Want to Hurt You”), which includes such lines as “Bites, kicks, heavy blows, nails, pincers, blunt saws - Tell me what you want,” as well as artwork showing guitarist Richard Kruspe with a masked, naked woman on his knees.

The album, “Liebe ist Fuer Alle Da” (“Love is For All”) has been a big seller globally since its release a month ago via Universal Music. It hit No. 1 in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Finland and the Netherlands. It made No. 2 in France, and No. 3 in Sweden and Belgium. In the United States, it debuted at No. 13, a record for the band.

The German Federal Office for the Examination of Media Harmful to Young People in Bonn also criticized the single “Pussy,” stating that it incites listeners to engage in unprotected sexual intercourse despite the risk of AIDS. But the song was not officially part of the ruling.

The video for “Pussy” has also caused some commotion as it shows what appear to be members of the band participating in sex scenes, although sources close to the band insist that the band members were doubled.

Since launching in Berlin in 1995, Rammstein have courted controversy with their eight albums, which have touched on such subjects as sadomasochism, homosexuality, incest, abuse, necrophilia, pyromania, cannibalism and sexual violence.

Retailers were mixed about the ban, which takes effect Wednesday.

I don’t think the lyrics are acceptable and are certainly not suitable for children,” said Yannik Hobe of MediMax in Schenefeld. “I assume that we will stop stocking the album altogether.”

But Joerg Jaeger of the Pressezentrum retail store in Luebeck did not think that the ban would have much effect.

“The album will sell even better than before,” he said. “We are not taking the album out of stock. From Wednesday, we will be selling it under the counter and will require customers to produce proof of their age. All it means is that the 18-year-old will buy it for his younger sister.”