Rammstein Small@ Newcastle Metro Radio Arena, February 29 2012

Rammstein ceased pushing the boundaries of modern metal some time ago: these days they simply redefine them. And seemingly at will.

Ripping up the rule book is like brushing your teeth or having a shit where this lot is concerned. It’s just part of the daily routine.

With no respect for decency, convention or tradition, their controversial mix of pounding rhythm, soft porn and rabble rousing anthems is a smack in the face for the bland conservatism of your average arena show. 

And that’s why the massed ranks of Rammstein devotees are ever-expanding. In the wrong hands this band could be very dangerous indeed.

If it’s possible to be an underground act and still sell tens of thousands of tickets every night then the German noiseniks are that act.

Perhaps society as a whole would rather ignore the fact that metal the fans the world over are being brainwashed by the brazen Berliners and their bawdy show.

But make no mistake about it – no band on the planet delivers a greater spectacle on such a grand scale right now, even if so many of its core attractions are so uncomfortable.

There is something uniquely disconcerting about a frenzied crowd chanting angst-ridden Tuetonic slogans with fist-pumping passion and quasi-political zeal. The next tattoo-daubed neo Nazi never seems to far away but then Rammstein are all about turning staid preconceptions on their head.

Right now they represent the very antithesis of a Europe in freefall – their big-budget circus act an excitable escape from economic uncertainty.

Watch Rammstein roll out the familiar pyrotechnics and dazzling light show and it’s easy to understand why Germany continues to be the glue that holds together a rapidly disintegrating union. Till Lindemann laughs in the face of austerity measures with each outrageous trick.

Masturbation, sadomasochism and some blindingly brilliant modern metal. It’s all here and packaged in such a way that Rammstein cannily manage to evade widespread condemnation from the conservative majority. Let’s face it: at their inflammatory peak Lindemann and his crew make Alice Cooper look like Ed Sheeran but there’s no Mary Whitehouse brigade following these boys the length and breadth of Britain.

If that is strange then the allure of their music is stranger still. Predominantly delivered in Rammstein’s native tongue it’s all Greek (or German) to the majority of those present. Yet with a fervour not seen since Iron Maiden played the same venue last year, the band’s fans sing along to every word with belief and awe in their eyes.

Rammstein can certainly pen a catchy anthem but Mutter, Du Hast and Mein Teil are best served live. Given the setting of sweat-soaked arena boasting a captive audience these monumental sheets of industrial metal take on a new meaning and betray a more sinister edge.

It’s that edge that makes Rammstein essential viewing whenever they bring their A game to these shores. Not always easy on the eye, it is a dangerous addiction that leaves you aching for more.

Simon Rushworth