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Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut

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Müsic for the mässes.

"Ït's lïke ä päir öf ëyes. Yöu're löoking ät thë umläut, änd ït's löoking ät yoü."
Dävid St. Hübbins, This is Spın̈al Tap

Ëvërÿthïng's mörë mëtäl wïth ümläüts. Maybe it's becäuse they can make änything look vaguely Germänic, and everything söunds scarier in German. Or maybe it's jüst because they look cöol, especially whën they're printed in a Göthic typeface. Either way, the diaeresis has becöme the text equivalent of giving ä Devil-hörned salute. Despite the title, however, the Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut is sometimes used in music genres besides metäl.

Othèr űnnæcessåry diácrîtiçal mârks, Faцx Cyяillic, and gratuitøus slashed ø's alsø shów up occâsioñally in mûsic, althøugh theý're Иot as pøpular or icônic of metäl as the ümläüt. Excessive use of this trope becomes £33†.

Üsed very frequently in parödies, where band names can even have Um̈lauẗs over con̈son̈an̈ẗs; in fact it's well on its way to Discredited Tropedom if it's not there already.

It must be nöted that this tröpe is about the gratuitoüs usage of umlauts, not "any usage of umlauts". Some artists from countries where umlauts are used in the local language have a genuine ümlaut in their band or personal names. Einstürzende Neubauten and Björk are therefore not examples of this trope.

Incidentally, the only letters in German that include umlauts are ä, ö and ü. They are pronounced, respectively, as: the e in bed (like a combination of a & e); a French "eu", which happens occasionally in English such as the i in sir (o + e); and a French u, made by forming the letter o with your lips, and voicing "eeeee" (u + e). The bands should therefore be pronounced "Mo-tuhrr-head" and "Blue Uhy-ster cult". (If you have a non-rhotic accent, the first two sounds are changed to "air" and "ur".) Ironically, the idea that a heavy rock band could make itself look hard and tough by adding umlauts is one that provokes amusement among many native German speakers, who apparently associate the letter "ö" with "cute", "sweet", "cuddly"... Not to mention, "ü" definitely resembles a smile.

In common Metal parlance, however, gratuitous umlauts are not pronounced, but this hasn't stopped fans of Queensrÿche asking about the Ÿ.

Gratuitous umlauts usually cause unnecessary embarrassment amongst native speakers of those languages whose orthography does use umlauts. An umlaut usually denotes the vowel is pronounced as frontal. Ä denotes a frontal a, like "cat", while A without umlauts is the back vowel, like "car". Likewise, Ö denotes a frontal o phoneme [usually denoted in English as ir or ur ], not unlike "sir", while O without umlaut is back vowel O, like "dog". Languages which use umlaut vowel shift are German, Swedish, Finnish, Skolt Sami, Karelian, Estonian, Hungarian (which also has long umlauts), Luxembourgish, North Frisian, Saterlandic, Emiliano-Romagnolo, Rotuman, Slovak, Azerbaijani, Turkish, Tatar, and Turkmen. Often Ä and Ö are treated as completely separate letters from A and O, appearing at the end of the alphabet beyond Z.

Not to be confused with the diaeresis (also called trema), which looks identical to umlauts. A diaeresis is used to indicate that a vowel is pronounced separately when it would either be part of a diphthong or else silent. In English they were traditionally used in vowel pairings where the second vowel is pronounced in a separate syllable, hence they are found in archaic spellings of words such as coöperate, preëmptive or Zodiäc. This usage is largely obsolete, though it is still part of the house style of The New Yorker magazine and MIT Technology Review, but survives in words like naïve which are borrowed from languages which do use diaereses to varying degrees, and in cases such as the Brontë siblings (indicating the "e" is pronounced, not silent). It's found in French (naïf, Noël), Spanish (ü only, in words such as pingüino or lingüística where it indicates that the "u" doesn't merely make the "g" hard but is pronounced itself as "w"), Catalan (qüestió, aigües), and other languages such as Occitan, Guarani, Galician, Luxembourgish, and Afrikaans. (Portuguese used to have it too before language reforms).

Subtrope of Myspeld Rökband. See also Xtreme Kool Letterz and Punctuation Shaker. Using accented letters to indicate characters speaking another language is a form of Painting the Medium, instead.


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    Cömic Bööks 
  • The DCU used to have a city called Blüdhaven, which was to Gotham City as New Jersey is to New York and was so dark and corrupt it grew an ümlaut. It mainly appeared in the Nightwingnote , Robin (1993) and Batgirl (2000) books, but was eventually destroyed during the Infinite Crisis crossover event. At least one Cosmic Retcon later, it returned in Nightwing (Rebirth), in which Nightwing explains to out-of-towners that it is in fact "Blewd-haven", not "Blood-haven".
  • In Gold Digger, when Gina defeats the merged Armageddon, the explosion is a massive BÜM.

    Cömïc Strïps 
  • Bloom County. Deathtöngue. "A bird on the bass, a tongue - what a face! At best, the music can best be described as lame..."

    Fän Wörks 

  • Brüno (2009), which without the umlaut would be a common German name. With it, it sounds vaguely French and somewhat feminine.
  • Parodied in This is Spın̈al Tap, where the band's name has an ümlaut over the "n".
    • Unicode represents it as "Spın̈al Tap", since not only does the n have an ümlaut, but the i has no dot over it. While the dotless i does exist in Unicode (for example, in Turkish), the n with an umlaut doesn't, which makes it a bit trickier to type (you have to use a "combining diaeresis" character). (For the record, the character n̈ does in fact exist in some Mesoamerican languages, where it represents the same sound as English -ng.)
  • Hot Tub Time Machine has Mötley Lüe, Lou's multi-platinum-selling band in which he rose to fame after deciding to stay in the past.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail has the Swedish subtitles under the opening credits.
  • Faces of Death, the infamous Mondo film, was hosted by "Dr. Francis B. Gröss."

  • In Zodiac, a local metal band is mentioned, and off-handedly dismissed by a metal fan as a "two-umlaut band".
  • Not an example: In The Lord of the Rings and other works by Tolkien, the Elvish language Quenya has diaeresis that are superfluous, but not random (that is, they're predictable and they can be left out without change of pronounciation or meaning). They're mostly there to remind English speakers to pronounce final E's (as in únótimë) and split combinations of vowels that don't form a diphthong (as in Eärendil). On the other hand, his use of acute and circumflex accents is significant and marks a difference in pronounciation.
  • Rodrick's band Löded Diper from Diary of a Wimpy Kid (though Greg says he probably doesn't know how to spell "Loaded Diaper" anyway).
  • In Year Zero, one of the characters — who is made out of a substance that is literally the heaviest metal in the universe — is named Özzÿ.
  • The publisher's blurb for Loki's Child describes the novel as being "so metal that even the consonants require umlauts." (Going by the Amazon reviews, it doesn't really live up to the hype.) The cover sports an umlaut over the "o" in the title, and another umlaut above the "n" in the author's name.

    Lïvë-Äctïön TV 
  • Parodied in Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire.
  • In one Mystery Science Theater 3000 sketch, Crow changed his name to Cröe, helpfully coaching Mike on proper pronunciation.
    Cröe: No no no, it's "Creuw"! It's very simple: "Creuw"!
    Mike: "Crow-ew?" "Crow-ee-ew?"
    Cröe: You've got to purse your beak, Mike.
  • The Colbert Report has "The Wørd".
  • In the Finnish heavy metal comedy tv-show Pelkkää Lihaa (non-gratuitous use of umlauts), the protagonists' band is called Irön Dragön which is funny, because Finnish uses umlauts.
    • Incidentally, band names with Heavy Metal Umlauts on them tend to look very silly to Finnish-speakers, because they actually know how to pronounce umlauted letters. The same is true for speakers of most other languages that use umlauts (German, Swedish etc).
    • Norwegian and Danish do not actually use umlauts, but everyone knows (due to exposure to Swedish and to a lesser degree the other languages that use them) that ö is equivalent to ø, ä to æ and so on.
  • In The Muppet Show, The Swedish Chef's rendition of "Popcorn" is spelled "Pöpcørn"note .
  • The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: ASS MÖDE.
  • In an episode of Reaper, a wannabe rocker/Dreadful Musician whose great idea of a stage name is just "Ryan" almost does a literal Deal with the Devil and becomes the even-more-ludicrous-sounding "Ryän".
  • In Kamen Rider Gaim, the Transformation Trinket is the Sengoku Driver. Fitting in with Gaim's samurai theme, "sengoku" refers to the Warring States Era, but in this instance the "goku" means "extreme" rather than "states". Fansubbers Æsir Woolseyized this as the Wärring Driver with an umlaut over the A. However, this created problems later on when it turned out that the belts were named for their creator, Ryoma Sengoku, forcing them to refer to him as "Ryoma Wärring"note 
  • One of the Breaking Bad minisodes reveals that Jesse and his friends used to have a band named TwaüghtHammër.
  • Subverted with Arabian Rap Gröûp X, which even has a "heavy metal caret."
  • Used and discussed in an episode of Taskmaster (appropriately called "Rock and Roll Umlaut"), during a task requiring teams of contestants to design an iconic rock music album. Joe Thomas and Sian Gibson call themselves "Shoe" and name their album "It's Too Big", with umlauts over the 'e' in "Shoe", the 's' in "It's" and the 'g' in 'big'. When questioned as to the prevalence of umlauts, Joe admitted they were gratuitous in the "Motley Crue" vein and weren't intended to be grammatically correct, leading to a Title Drop. Amusingly, the rest of the album cover appears to be more of a slightly goth indie / electronic techno-pop style along the lines of Kraftwerk more than heavy metal.

  • Blue Öyster Cult is the Tröpe Mäker, and possibly the Ür Exämple.
  • Motörhead
    • There was a funny real-life incident when Motörhead was playing in Germany, and the fans chanted the bands name as it's pronounced in German. Like the Motley Crue example, this could just be an urban legend, though, since it wouldn't be pronounced all that differently than it is in English.
    • And within Motörhead, their guitarist Würzel
    • Title of their 2010 album and the following tour: The Wörld is Yours. Germans can't mispronounce this, by the way.
    • There is a German cover band called AD/AC Motörwelt (which, you guessed it, covers AC/DC and Motörhead). The name is strictly for puns sake - ADAC Motorwelt is the journal of the ADAC, the largest German car interest club.
  • Mötley Crüe. Evidently, their first world tour had German fans chanting "MU-wet-leh CREW-eh!" (Yeah, that sounds really tough and hardcore.)
  • Queensrÿche. Lampshaded by Geoff Tate in an interview:
    "The ümlaut over the 'y' has haunted us for years. We spent eleven years trying to explain how to pronounce it."
  • The Spanish band Mägo de Oz - ¡Cabroneeeees!
  • German punk rock band Die Ärzte (The Doctors), whose name in normal German is written with an 'Ä' already, tend to use an A with three dots. (Also, they decided on the name because there wasn't a band with Ä as the first letter back then.)
  • Maxïmo Park probably counts as gratuitous since the ümlaut apparently doesn't change the pronunciation in any way.
  • Used/parodied by the Canadian indie pop/rock group Moxy Früvous.
  • Though it's not normally part of the band name, the cover of Kid 606's Shout at the Döner note  has an umlaut over the zero in the band logo, since the artwork parodies Mötley Crüe's Shout at the Devil.
  • Magma is an odd non-metal example. The band's name proper has no umlaut, but since their lyrics are mostly in a fictional germanic-sounding language, they employ umlauts profusely in their album and song titles, e.g. Mëkanïk Destruktïẁ Kömmandöh.
  • Hüsker Dü took their name from a Norwegian phrase (literally, "do you remember?") and added gratuitous umlauts. They used the name because they didn't want to be pigeonholed as just another Hardcore Punk band.
  • Rap duo Dälek (pr. "die-uh-lek") use the umlaut to combine the word "dialect" (as pronounced in exaggerated rap dialect) with the popular Doctor Who villains. A neat little three-layer-cake of a pun.
    • As in his lyric "Deadverse spoken with broken dälek"
  • One band deliberately misspelled "cornet" as "corønet", parodying both the Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut and a very common misspelling of "cornet" (which spellcheckers won't pick up, because it's also a real word).
  • Twenty One Pilots is usually spelled with a slashed o in its name, purely for decoration.
  • NǽnøĉÿbbŒrğ VbëřřĦōlökäävsŦ. How is this pronounced? The expected answer is "Nanocyborg Uberholocaust". The real answer is that you just wince and look away.
  • The Canadian Celtic/Appalachian/Acadian/folk band Scrüj MacDuhk (now either disbanded or simply known as The Duhks, depending on your point-of-view) is a decidedly non-metal example of this.
  • Pop singer Jason Derülo is also a non-metal version of this. His real name is Jason Desrouleaux: derülo is exactly how a German or Scandinavian would pronounce desrouleaux.
  • R&B singer and actress Mýa is an example of this not applied just to performers, because Mýa is her birth name.
  • Rapper Jay-Z had a version of this (Jaÿ-Z) on his very first album, Reasonable Doubt.
  • Röyksopp is a Norwegian electronica duo. The reason for the alternative orthography is not clear, but one might wonder if it has something to do with how "røyksopp" simply is the Norwegian word for "puffball" (ø in Norwegian is equivalent in sound value to German and Swedish ö).
  • Daniel Amos (an alternative rock band you could only mistake for metal if you've never heard any metal before) released an album named Calhöun. On the album cover, they abbreviated their name as "Dä".
  • Green Jellÿ. They were Green Jellö until the trademark infringement suit. The band states that the "ÿ" in their name is pronounced like an "o," so their name is still pronounced "Green Jell-O."
    • Had a live album "Triple Live Möther Gööse at Budokan".
  • Visual Kei band Girugämesh proves that even Japanese bands can rock the purely aesthetic umlaut.
  • Gwar parodied this with the song titles on their album Hell-O: Almost every song on the album has at least one gratuitous umlaut or other diacritical mark in it - "I'm in Löve (With a Deåd Dog)" for instance.
  • Lady Gaga's song "Yoü and I."
  • "Head Öf The Pack" by Skull Fist.
  • Nanowar of Steel does this with the titles of the songs "Intrue" and "Outrue" ("ue" being a way to represent the German "ü"). It's also a pun on how they play only "true metal" (of steel!).
  • The Crüxshadows.
  • Bügsküll, who zigzag the crap out of this trope by not only being a low-key experimental pop group, but also because, to quote Sean Byrne, "the umlauts are there to make smiley faces."
  • For reasons never properly explained, 1990s dance diva Märy Kiani.
  • British 80's space-rock band Underground Zerø, Hawkwind soundalikes who abbreviate their name to 'UZØ, using a marked vowel from a less warlike Germanic language.
  • Obscure Hamburg punk band Kränkshäft. German would write "crankshaft" phonetically exactly this way.
  • Gröûp X not only has an umlaut over the o, but a caret over the u.
  • Psyborg Corp's The Frozen Shrines of Obsÿdÿana.
  • The English singer/songwriter Chlöe Howl is an unintentional example; her name was intended to be spelled "Chloë" (standard spelling; the dots over the e are not a case of the trope, but simply indicate that the o and e are pronounced as two separate sounds) but was misspelled on her birth certificate.
  • Living Colour, already somewhat distinct by being an American band who used British spelling in their name, also put an umlaut over the U in "Colour" for their first two albums.
  • A.R. Kane's Spiritual Successor group Jübl, which has no official pronunciation.
  • Indie Pop diva Låpsley, who hails from Oop North England, not Scandinavia.
  • Subverted by Italian rock band Måneskin, winners of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021. Yes, they chose a name with a diacritic to look badass, but it is the actual spelling of the Danish word for Moonshine (the bass player is half Danish).
  • Exaggerated by the French Avant-Garde Metal group Öxxö Xööx: beyond the name, there's an umlaut on every vowel (and Y) in the Conlang in which their lyrics are written.
  • Parodied by the Norwegian-American band Negative Øhio. The "Ø" in the name is actually pronounced like the Norwegian letter, meaning their name is pronounced "Negative Uhhio".


    Pröfessional Wrëstling 

    Ständüp Cömëdÿ 
  • Dylan Moran talks about "A really exclusive place called Umlaut. You probably haven't heard of it. Well, it's not actually called Umlaut, it's just two dots over a U which isn't there."

    Täblëtöp Gämës 
  • Umläut: Game of Metal the name tells everything really. A review here.

    Vïdëö Gämës 
  • Don't Starve has Wigfrid, An actress pösing as a valkyrie. Every single "O" that she says will be an "Ö". Sö her speech söunds sömething like this.
  • One of the characters in Guitar Hero is named Lars Ümlaüt.
  • Rock Band 2 has an achievement called "Needs More Umlauts!", which is awarded the first time you create a band logo. This is a double reference to Blue Öyster Cult, who started this trope and gained more popularity through SNL's "Needs More Cowbell" sketch, which the Rock Band games make a LOT of references to.
  • Ecstatica, or Ečstati̊ca, features a heavy metal caron as well as a an I with a ring (which doesn't exist in Unicode and has to be composed using a combining character). Cover art here.
  • Irenes from Chrono Cross has this is her Verbal Tic.
  • The Heavy Metal game Brütal Legend, starring Jack Black as a roädie who gets sucked into a fantasy world fueled by The Power of Rock, features a Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut in its title. In Xbox Magazine, the creator confessed that the umlaut is there solely because, as a game about heavy metal, it just had to be. (Oddly enough, "brütal" pronounced in German would sound like the correct French pronunciation of "brutal.")
  • The World Ends with You features the band Def Märch.
  • The first mark in The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile is the banker... named Barön Ömötö. However, the one voice clip that plays (an advertisement) pronounces all the ö's long, making his name sound like oe-MOE-toe.
  • In Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: Baddest of the Bands, Strong Bad forms a band with the King of Town and Homsar in his effort to win the Battle Royale of the Bands (reluctantly, since they were the only people not already in the contest). They end up calling themselves D-Ö-I.
    • Also, when looking at the banner for Bubs' and Coach Z's band, Two-O-Duo, Strong Bad mentions that the name would "be much cooler with a few umlauts".
  • In the Escape Velocity data files, every EV-specific resource type includes a gratuitous umlaut (e.g. "shïp" for spacecraft, "düde" for named characters, etc), to avoid collisions with the built-in system resources.
  • The lack of this trope in Atlus' localized versions of the first two Super Robot Wars: Original Generation games led to some serious Fan Wank over the presumed "correct" spellings of certain characters' names which continues to this very day. The biggest one being over Sänger Zonvolt, who due to the way Japanese phonetics works, has his name pronounced as "Ze-n-ga-ru" in games that feature voice acting, thus resulting in a number of fans who insist that his name is "Zengar" or some variant thereof.
  • Borderlands 2 does the Spın̈al Tap equivalent, where Captain̈ Flyn̈t's Boss Subtitles has umlauts over the N's in his name.
  • Parodied in Counterfeit Monkey, where an umlaut punch puts umlauts into any word you give it, turning it briefly into the abstraction of a fake heavy metal band.
  • The Password Save system in The Guardian Legend places umlauts over all of the lowercase letters, including the consonants.
  • Endurance in Disco Elysium peppers random vowels with umlauts, with more umlauts the more points are put into it.

    Wëb Änïmätïön 

  • Deathmøle from Questionable Content.
  • In PVP, most of the main cast are members of the fictional band "Djörk"... "Nerd rock forever", as one of them put it. Originally, they wanted to call it "Umlaüt" but it turned out to have been already taken by a real band.
  • Webcomic Ugly Hill poked fun at this.
  • Used repeatedly in Erfworld where the protagonist's army consists of a medley of heavy metal references.
  • Bad Machinery used an umlauted band, Lünk, in a strip discussing a rocker vs. mod war. (Link)

    Wëb Örïgïnäls 
  • Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG has a dwarven bard named Rjägnjär Hjëllstjürm who puts umlauts over every vowel, and includes a silent J in each syllable.
  • Complained about in this Metaquotes entry.
  • "Lööps Cat", a popular lolcat meme of a fat, shaggy cat begging its owner for some of the fruit loops he's eating. This may be due to the fact it appears to be a Norwegian Forest Cat.

    Wëstërn Änïmätïön 

    Rëäl Lïfë 
  • Häagen-Dazs ice cream (which is not actually Scandinavian—it's originally from the Bronx). It appears to be, on the face of it, half-Danish, half-Hungarian, with a gratuitous umlaut thrown in for good measure.
    • It seems to be a trend. There are also the yogurt chains Freshëns and Yogen Früz.
    • The reason it looks Danish to English eyes is the similarity with "Copenhagen". A real Artistic License – Linguistics, because the Danish name of Copenhagen is actually København.
    • Häagen-Dazs' competitor from the 80's, Frusen Glädjé, is a subversion since it's an actual Swedish phrase meaning "frozen joy" or "frozen delight", except that the proper spelling has no accent over the last "e" (and the accent seems to have been to get Americans to pronounce the "e" instead of saying "froosen gladge").
      • Ironically, Häagen-Dazs tried to sue Frusen Glädjé for, among other things, deceptive trade practices over the umlauts and other elements suggesting a Scandinavian name. This did not get past the judge who pointed out Häagen-Dazs did the same thing they were accusing the defendant of.
  • "Möben"- or rather, Moben, a well-known British kitchen maker- responded to complaints of passing itself off as German by pointing out that the "umlauts" are not part of the name itself, merely an "artistic device" that formed a part of their logo and "that any resemblance with an umlaut is coincidental".
  • There's also the Swedish homewares chain (and IKEA clone) Clas Ohlsson, whose British advertising goes in for these with pseudo-Swedish nonsense like "Usefulshöpp" (approximately "usefulshurp"). (For those wondering, the Swedish word for "shop" is not "shöpp", but "butik" (from boutique) "affär" when they don't just use the word "shop" itself).
  • Änd ïf mänüällÿ äddïng ümläüts ïs töö müch för ÿöü, thërë's ä Përl mödülë tö dö ït för ÿöü.
  • The Bödyplex gyms in and around Atlanta, Georgia. They're universally referred to as "Bootyplex" by locals.
  • Android phones tries to earn extra credit for not only putting an umlaut on an r, but by putting it inside the r instead of above it.
  • Jäääär is a legitimate word in Estonian (it means "ice-edge") even though it looks totally ridiculous to foreigners.
    • As is pää-äänenkannattaja (main supporter [newspaper]) in Finnish. Ice edge would be jäänääri or jäänreuna in Finnish. Umlauts are not gratuitous.
  • Backfired by American heavy metal band Trojan, who used umlaut over 'o' on their concert T-shirts. That failed spectacularly in Sweden, as tröjan means simply "the shirt" in Swedish...
  • A brand of rice-pudding dessert marketed in Britain by the German Müller company is called Püd. Slightly ridiculous as to pronounce it the way it is spelt would make it Peuhd, rather than the intended English abbreviation "Pud" for "pudding".
  • Volkswagen's "Fahrvergnügen" advertising campaign inspired T-shirt parodies such as "Farfromnörmal", "Farfromsöber," and "Fourfignëwtons."
  • The Unicode Consortium lets you adopt (i.e. sponsor) Unicode characters for a fee. The advice page on choosing a character to sponsor suggests that you can sponsor "Over 1,750 combining marks, like the umlaut ( ¨ )—if you’re fond of Häagen-Dazs or hëävÿ mëtäl." As of 2019, nobody has followed this perfectly reasonable suggestion.
  • American surfwear brand Stüssy is named after its founder, Shawn Stussy, with a gratuitous umlaut over the "u".