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Neue Deutsche Härte (German for "New German Hardness", abbrev: NDH) is a subgenre of rock music that developed in Germany during the mid-1990s. Alluding to the style of Neue Deutsche Welle, the term was coined by the music press after the 1995 release of Rammstein's album Herzeleid.
Neue Deutsche Härte describes a crossover style that is influenced by Neue Deutsche Welle, alternative metal and groove metal combining it with elements from electronica and techno. The lyrics are generally in German. NDH uses the basic setup of instruments for metal: electric guitar, bass guitar, drums and vocals, along with keyboard, synthesizers, samples and sometimes additional percussion. Emphasis is on a demonstration of predominance, by over-pronouncing certain syllables and letters (such as the uvular or alveolar trill). The vocals are thus dominantly presenting in deep, male, and clean voice. Some bands use screaming and death growls, which is also common, being heard in certain songs by Oomph!, Rammstein, Stahlhammer, Samsas Traum and Megaherz. NDH imagery is often strongly masculine and militaristic. Guitars are tuned low, usually to drop D or C, and are generally heavily distorted.
The rudiments of the NDH style were established by Oomph! on their seminal second album, Sperm (1994), and by Rammstein with their first album Herzeleid (1995). In those days, Oomph!'s biggest influence were groove metal bands such as Prong, Pantera and Sepultura. Rammstein, who take inspiration from a wide array of bands including Depeche Mode and Ministry, is the style's most famous and successful practitioner. NDH is especially successful in continental Europe; Rammstein have sold nearly four million records in Germany, while accumulating gold and platinum records in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, and Finland.
Oomph! achieved a gold record for their 2004 "Augen auf!" single in Austria and Germany.Eisbrecher's 2004 self-titled debut album entered at No. 13 on the Deutschen Alternative Top 20 Chart, while the group's second album (Antikörper) reached the No. 85 position on the German main chart. Other NDH groups include: Megaherz, Stahlhammer, Stahlmann, Fleischmann, and others.
In 2011, comic and musician Bill Bailey parodied the Neue Deutsche Härte style by releasing a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's Scarborough Fair in the style of Rammstein. The lyrics are translated verbatim and mostly don't make sense in German.