American radio has also embraced Rammstein. "Du Hast" was picked up first at stations playing "active rock," such as songs from Aerosmith and Pearl Jam. But in the past two months, Rammstein's U.S. label, London Records, says the song has crossed over to "alternative rock" radio. That's important since most alternative radio stations carry higher audience ratings. The album has sold more than 245,000 copies in the U.S.
"Rammstein will stand out on any playlist," says London's Wayne Pigini. "In Burlington, Vt., a station played it once, and the phones lit up for hours after that." The influential WXRK station in New York played it for the first time at 7 p.m.; the station told Mr. Pigini it was still getting phone calls through midnight.
Rammstein fans in the know say the "Sehnsucht" album is tamer than the band's debut album "Herzeleid"" ("Heartache"), which sold well in Germany but was never released in the U.S. Now London Records, part of the Polygram NV entertainment group, plans to re-release "Herzeleid" at some point.
The label enclosed cards in each "Sehnsucht" album, which buyers could send in for translations of the lyrics. Many did, and London will use the cards as a way to get the "Herzeleid" word out. "This is like having gold," Mr. Pigini says. "You have your Rammstein fans laid out in front of you on paper."
Rammstein guitarist and songwriter Richard Kruspe says he finds criticism of the band off the mark, particularly the attacks on the lyrics. "You can always take stuff out of the text and be provocative," he says. "You have to look at the entire lyrics."