To be fair, the exact genre tag is Neue Deutsche Härte ("new German hardness"). Although the American counterpart was a distinct synthesis of hard, evil-sounding rock and beat-my-girlfriend rapping, the hard-ass Germans are a slightly more amorphous phenomenon, dating back to the late '80s. The term more or less seems to denote a metal/rock variant that does a lot of genre bending.
The only reason anyone cares or knows anything about this in the first place is because of Rammstein, the industrially focused Deutsche Härte band that crossed over to America in a big way with its 1996 single "Du Hast." Rammstein has just announced a U.S. tour, including a stop at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise on April 20, 2012, so we figured it would be an appropriate time to impart a little knowledge on the different ways one can be new, hard, and German.
Das Band: Oomph!
Claim to Fame: These dudes pioneered being new, hard Germans way back in 1989, when the Berlin Wall was finally coming down and goth kids from the German Democratic Republic could finally trade industrial and butt-metal cassettes for West Germany's incredibly abundant supply of electronic music 12-inches. They have not had a single lineup change in 22 years. These days, they seem to have a good sense of which nu-emo memes to incorporate into their mish-mash.
New German Hardness Rating: 10
Das Band: Megaherz
Claim to Fame: Before streamlining into the aggro-industrial nu-metal stomp that rocketed Rammstein to the top, Megaherz belched forth a U.S. alt-metal variant comparable to Mike Patton's Faith No More.
New German Hardness Rating: 4 (before Rammstein broke), 8 (after Rammstein broke).
Das Band: Stahlhammer
Claim to Fame: This Austrian trio plays the most metallic alt-funk-whatever-metal of the bunch but has also been known to cover Pink Floyd and M.C. Hammer.
New German Hardness Rating: 69
Das Band: Samsas Traum
Claim to Fame: Blending industrial with symphonic metal for the soundtrack to Euro-goths to beating the shit out of one another in das pit.
New German Hardness Rating: 420
Das Band: Die Apokalyptischen Reiter
Claim to Fame: Cartoonishly frantic yet devilishly technical, this shit is bananas. Kind of sounds like tech-metal progenitors Cephalic Carnage if fronted by a band of Vikings who used to hang with Frank Zappa.
Rammstein. Friday, April 20, 2012. BankAtlantic Center, 2555 NW 136th Ave., Sunrise.