Young und Reich

No oven jokes, at least
photo: Kristin Callahan

Young, fast, and scientific, Hanzel und Gretyl's ersatz Kraut-rock makes dance-metal out of the goose step and sieg heil. Über Alles is a rock opera aimed at our SS troops on the stairway to the stars; the Baron von Strucker comic-book-Deutsch lyrics make everything ganz klar to even those without a Cassell's German-English dictionary.

There are mach schnells and jawohls delivered with fervor, and drum sequences rock-ribbed enough to satisfy an übergruppenführer. Halfway through there's an intermission so you can pour yourself a schnapps or grab some marzipan before returning to the rally. "Transplutonian Annihilation" is the catchiest mantra of the bunch, its title beat-synced to an electronic riff. The greatest appeal of the act is in its krank—that's ill—talent for making Teutonic exhortation into a rhythm instrument.

Hanzel und Gretyl cater to the inner desire Americans have to be dressed in German militaria and curtly ordered around by functionaries of the Bund. As for themselves, H und G seem to have a preference for lederhosen and clumsy-looking boots, but would probably make allowances for anyone with fetishes ranging from Stahlhelms to riding crops.

It's too bad stuff like Über Alles can't get played on classic rock radio. It would be poetry to hear a greasy announcer cackle, "And that was 'Third Reich From the Sun' "—just the thing for the homeward drive or happy hour in the United Fatherland of America.

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