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Metal umlaut

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Mötley Crüe's Hollywood Walk of Fame star, which shows the two metal umlauts used in the band's name

A metal umlaut (also known as röck döts[1]) is a diacritic that is sometimes used gratuitously or decoratively over letters in the names of hard rock or heavy metal bands—for example those of Blue Öyster Cult, Queensrÿche, Motörhead, The Accüsed and Mötley Crüe.

Usage[edit]

In German orthography the umlaut version of a vowel is pronounced differently from the normal vowel; the letters u and ü represent distinct sounds, as do o and ö as well as a and ä.[citation needed] In the Latin languages it's used to show that two side-by-side vowels are to be pronounced separately: e.g., Spanish bilingüe (bilingual) is pronounced bee-leeng-guay instead of bee-leeng-gay; in this form of usage it's called a dieresis.

Among English speakers, the use of umlaut marks and other diacritics with a blackletter style typeface is a form of foreign branding intended to give a band's logo a Teutonic quality—connoting stereotypes of boldness and brutality presumably associated with Germanic and Nordic cultures. Its use has also been attributed to a desire for a "gothic horror" feel.[2] The metal umlaut is not generally intended to affect the pronunciation of the band's name.

Reactions[edit]

Speakers of languages which use an umlaut to designate a pronunciation change may understand the intended effect, but perceive the result differently. When Mötley Crüe visited Germany, singer Vince Neil said the band couldn't figure out why "the crowds were chanting, Mutley Cruh! Mutley Cruh!"[3]

These decorative umlauts have been parodied in film and fiction; in the mockumentary film This Is Spın̈al Tap, fictional rocker David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean) says, "It's like a pair of eyes. You're looking at the umlaut, and it's looking at you."[4] The heavy metal parody band Gwar parodied the use of metal umlauts by filling the song names on its first album with decorative diacritics.

Band or album name examples[edit]

English-speaking countries[edit]

Other countries[edit]

  • Аквариум - Russian rock band, whose name is stylized as "Åквариум" on their logo, and they use "Å" as their symbol.
  • Crashdïet – Swedish glam metal band.
  • Die Ärzte – German punk band, have used three dots over the "Ä" since their 2003 album Geräusch. The normal two-dot umlaut, Die Ärzte, is simply correct German for The Doctors.
  • Fälkor - Mexican pop punk band.
  • Flëur – Ukrainian ethereal wave band – not actually an umlaut but rather a Cyrillic ё, which is pronounced the same as eu in the French word fleur (flower).
  • Girugämesh – Japanese rock band often stylise their name with an umlaut over the a.
  • Infernal – Danish electronic band, was stylized as Infërnal on their album Waiting for Daylight.
  • Insidiöus Törment – Liechtenstein-based old school heavy metal band who use gratuitous umlauts, but pronounce them nonetheless.
  • KobaïanFrench progressive rock band Magma sing in this constructed language, which has many diereses in its written form.
  • Közi – Japanese rock musician.
  • Lörihen – Argentinian heavy metal band.
  • Mägo de Oz – Spanish folk metal band.
  • Moottörin Jyrinä – Finnish heavy metal band, the umlaut in Moottörin is gratuitous, but the one in Jyrinä is not.
  • Motör Militia – Bahraini thrash metal band.
  • Mütiilation – French black metal band.
  • Наӥв – Russian punk band, with two dots over и in their logo (like a dieresis in the word naïve).
  • Püdelsi - Polish rock band.
  • Rinôçérôse – French electronica band.

Video games and books[edit]

Other products with decorative umlauts[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The full Mötley". The Age. 2 December 2005. Retrieved 8 September 2016. In the world of heavy metal, the umlaut - otherwise known as röck dots ...
  2. ^ Garofalo, Rebee (1997). Rockin' Out: Popular Music in the USA. Allyn & Bacon. p. 292. ISBN 0-205-13703-2. "Some groups, for example Blue Öyster Cult and Motörhead, added gratuitous umlauts to their names to conjure up a more generic gothic horror, a practice that continued into the 1980s with Mötley Crüe and others."
  3. ^ Eric Spitznagel (November 27, 2009). "Motley Crue's Vince Neil is Finally Bored With Boobs". Vanity Fair.
  4. ^ CMJ New Music Monthly Oct 2000 https://books.google.com/books?id=zioEAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA11&dq=%22looking%20at%20the%20umlaut%22&pg=PA11

External links[edit]