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laibach alsosprachzarathustra
Artist: Laibach
Title: Also sprach Zarathustra
Genre: Avant-garde / Neo-Classical
Release Date: 14th July 2017
Label: Mute Records


Album Review

LAIBACH, the musical phenomenon from Slovenia, has a new album out. And again it is not what most people probably expected. Anyone who hoped that the unreleased songs which the Slovenian collective has performed live over the last years would finally be available as studio versions, will be disappointed. The songs from the 'Sound Of Music' musical, which LAIBACH performed at their infamous North Korean gig in 2015 and at the adjacent European tour, as well as their adaptation of Edvard Grieg's unfinished opera 'Olav Tryggvason' will have to wait to be finally released on an official LAIBACH release. Also the folks who probably kept their fingers crossed that LAIBACH might go back to the elegant Electro Pop of 'Spectre' or even the Wagnerian Techno and EBM of 'WAT' or 'NATO' have to keep their fingers crossed a bit longer.

'Also Sprach Zarathustra' is the soundtrack to Matjaž Berger's theatre piece of the same name, which is an adaptation of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's book of the same name. So this album has a pretty special background story, it doesn't really feel like a "regular" LAIBACH album (at least to me) and it is neither just a Nietzsche tribute by the Slovenian band. Although LAIBACH and Nietzsche seems to be such a natural pairing, the controversial 19th century writer is surely one of the main influences when it comes to the intellectual and philosophical foundation of LAIBACH and the conjoined art collective, Neue Slowenische Kunst.

The nature of the album means that only selected citations and slogans from Nietzsche's 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra' could be featured. But it works, after all it is one of LAIBACH's strengths to take something out of context, or to boil something down to its essence. Nevertheless the album has a bit of a fractured, disrupted feel to it but in moments when singer Milan Fras e.g. grunts with his deep voice 'Dunkel ist die Nacht' (dark is the night) in 'Das Nachtlied I', followed by Industrial noise and sparse piano sounds, it doesn't fail to have a profound effect on the keen listener. The album is not an easy piece of music and you have to be poised for it but it's a rewarding experience. 'Ein Verkündiger' is probably one of the darkest and most ominous LAIBACH tracks in years, while Milan Fras quite ironically sings "I'm a prophet of the light".

'Von Gipfel zu Gipfel' is another bleak, gloomy piece but one of the highlights, as well, with its dripping and dropping synth sounds which cascade evermore until the string section comes in just to give way to an Acheronian beep as if just suffered a tinnitus. LAIBACH demand a lot from their listeners on 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' until, finally, salvation comes with 'Vor Sonnenaufgang', a soaring neo-classical track which features Mina Špiler's lovely voice. It's her only song on this album, and after this beautiful, luring moment comes 'Von den drei Verwandlungen' ("on the three transformations"), a seven-minute long disruptive, swirling noise which will split your ears.

'Also Sprach Zarathustra' is a challenging, almost exhausting piece of work and shows LAIBACH from their most experimental and darkest side with frequent neo-classical, symphonic moments. And this is certainly good news for all fans of the early LAIBACH, who probably thought that the band has become "too poppy" with works like 'Spectre' or 'The Sound Of Music'. This one is dark, noisy, minimal, painfully slow, brooding and menacing - what else would you expect from the combination of Nietzsche and LAIBACH?


Tracklist

01. Vor Sonnen-Untergang
02. Ein Untergang
03. Die Unschuld I
04. Ein Verkündiger
05. Von Gipfel zu Gipfel
06. Das Glück
07. Das Nachtlied I
08. Das Nachtlied II
09. Als Geist
10. Die Unschuld II
11. Vor Sonnen-Aufgang
12. Von den drei Verwandlungen


Line-up

Milan Fras
Ivan Novak
Mina Špiler
Janez Gabrič
Luka Jamnik
Rok Lopatič


Website

http://www.laibach.org / http://www.facebook.com/Laibach


Cover Picture

laibach alsosprachzarathustra


Rating

Music: 8.5
Sound: 9.5
Total: 9 / 10


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