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Music / Die Krupps

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Die Krupps current members (from left to right): Jürgen Engler (vocals, synths, guitar), Ralf Dörper (synths, guitar), Marcel Zürcher (guitar)

Die Krupps is a band from Düsseldorf, Germany, founded in 1980 by Jürgen Engler and Bernward Malaka. They are regarded as the Trope Makers for Neue Deutsch Härte, though they call their style Metal Machine Music because their albums all sound quite different from each other— the only consistent elements are metal guitar, synths, and the Steelophone (a set of metal pipes attached to a frame and played by hitting them as hard as possible with metal sticks).

The name literally means "the Krupps" and refers to the Krupp dynasty and industrial corporation. As such, many of their songs are about factory work and/or politics.

Their lineup has varied a great deal over the years, and Malaka has since left the band, but vocalist and frontman Jürgen Engler has kept his position through the band's entire history. Die Krupps have collaborated with a large number of other artists in EPs, remixes, and concerts, including Front Line Assembly, Unheilig, Funker Vogt, The Sisters of Mercy, and Nitzer Ebb. Ralf Dörper left in 1982 to form Propaganda, but subsequently returned.

To The Hilt was played a lot on MTV during The '90s.

Discography as of 2016:

  • Stahlwerksinfonie (1981)
  • Volle Kraft Voraus! (1982)
  • Entering the Arena (1985)
  • A Tribute to Metallica (1992)
  • I (1992)
  • II - The Final Option (1993)
  • The Final Remixes (1994)
  • III - Odyssey of the Mind (1995)
  • Paradise Now (1997)
  • Too Much History (2008)
  • The Machinists of Joy (2013)
  • V - Metal Machine Music (2015)
  • Stahlwerkrequiem (2016)

Associated Tropes:

  • Album Intro Track: "Die Verdammten (Prelude)" is the one for V - Metal Machine Music.
  • All Germans Are Nazis / Music to Invade Poland to: Flagrantly subverted— "DIE KRUPPS CONDEMN FASCISM AND DRUG ABUSE!"
  • Affectionate Parody: according to Ralf Dörper, the musical style of "Nazis Auf Speed" is an affectionate parody of Rammstein. He wrote the chorus and first two verses as a joke right after attending one of their concerts.
  • Arc Words: Die Krupps are fond of this trope. The most prominent phrases are "Metal Machine Music", "The Final X" or "The X Option", and anything to do with three rings of steel.
  • Bizarre Instrument: the Steelophone, a xylophone-type instrument made from metal pipes and played by hitting it with smaller metal sticks. It's been part of their music from the beginning.
  • Call-Back:
    • "Robo Sapien" is about transhumanism, as is "Iron Man".
    • "Alive In A Glass Cage" is about the lack of privacy in our society like "High Tech Low Life", and contains phrases from the lyrics of "Disciples of Discipline."
  • Cover Version: ''A Tribute to Metallica'' is a Cover Album. They've also covered "Ich bin ein Auslander" by Pop Will Eat Itself, "Der Amboss" ("The Anvil") by Visage, and "It's A Long Way to the Top" by AC/DC.
  • Darker and Edgier: V is the most aggressive in tone and is much heavier than The Machinists of Joy.
    • The video for "Kaltes Herz" is a lot edgier than any of their previous videos by a significant margin, being about a pedophile manipulating teens online so he can kidnap them and lock them in his sex dungeon basement.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first three albums, before the Genre Shift into Metal-influenced territory. Stalhwerksinfonie, a percussion album inspired by Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, in particular is very different from all later work.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: "The Last Flood" shifts drastically in pace and tone at the 1:46 mark.
  • Epic Rocking: "Stahlwerksinfonie A", "Stahlwerksinfonie B", and "Stahlwerkrequiem / Westfalenhausen" are over 13 minutes long. "Stahlwerkrequiem / Rheinhausen" is over 23 minutes long.
  • Gasmask Longcoat: Jürgen Engler in the video for "Risikofactor".
  • Greatest Hits Album: Too Much History, a 2-disc compilation of Not-Remixes with some new tracks thrown in.
  • Harsh Vocals: At times, depending on the album. Best heard on Paradise Now.
  • Homage: the album art for The Machinists of Joy is this to the art for Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music.
  • Horrible History Metal: "Nazis Auf Speed" is about the Wehrmacht's use of Pervitin and aerial ramming by BF 109 pilots.
  • Industrial Metal: though the ratio of Industrial to Metal varies between albums and even songs.
  • Lighter and Softer: The Machinists of Joy is less grim in tone than Odyssey of the Mind and Paradise Now and lacks the antagonistic Harsh Vocals.
  • Metal Scream: ...bringing redemption of the LAST FLOOOOOOOOOOODDD!!! YEEAAAAHH!!!
      • Most tracks on Paradise Now contain a scream or two.
    • The cover of "It's A Long Way To The Top"
  • Perpetual Frowner: Marcel Zürcher seems to have the same facial expression at all times.
  • Protest Song: "Fatherland" is about the Solingen arson attack and xenophobia in German society in general.
    • "Alive in a Glass Cage" and "Branded" are about NSA data collection.
    • "Fly Martyrs Fly" is about Germanwings Flight 9525.
    • "The Truth" is about the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
  • Revolving Door Band: Jürgen Engler is the only consistent member.
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: At the end of the 2016 Wacken festival, they smashed their guitars and the Steelophone.
  • Sampling: Not as prevalent as in other Industrial acts, but sometimes a voice clip will be used to set the tone for a song, like "The Red Line", which opens and closes with parts of George Zimmerman's 911 call.
  • Speedy Techno Remake: the Metallica tribute album was this to some degree, seeing as it contained no guitars.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: the subject matter of "Shellshocked"
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Essenbeck" is the name of the family in The Damned (1969), which was based on the real-life Krupp dynasty. "Die Verdammten" is the German title of said film.
    • The cover of I is the Krupp logo with a zeppelin superimposed on it. Considering the fact that one of the Led Zeppelin symbols is very similar to the Krupp logo, and that Die Krupps once remixed "Nobody's Fault But Mine", it's probably a reference.
    • The cover of V employs a similar art style to the posters for Mad Max: Fury Road. The song "Road Rage Warrior" reinforces the connection.
  • Surreal Music Video: "Scent" is a textbook example. "To The Hilt" features the whole band crammed into a graffiti-covered public restroom, with Jürgen Engler dancing while various mannequins and people appear from the toilet.
  • Title Track: "Odyssey of the Mind," "The Machinist Of Joy," "Paradise Now." The album cover of Odyssey of the Mind even depicts someone "sitting in a cage, an open cage."
    • "One" is a unusual example because it's a cover of the Metallica song, and the album title is stylized I.
  • Trope Maker: for Neue Deutsche Härte
  • Vocal Evolution: Jürgen Engler initially had a boyish punk voice but as of A Tribute To Metallica, fittingly enough, he sounds like a German version of Black Album -era James Hetfield.