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Noctiferia - Reforma-Tribute To Laibach (2021) - Review

Band: Noctiferia
Album title: Reforma - Tribute To Laibach
Release date: 28 May 2021
Label: Blood Blast Distribution/Nika Records
Genre: Industrial Metal, Extreme Metal, Avant-Garde

Tracklist:
01. Barbarians Are Coming (Intro)
02. Now You Will Pay (feat. David Vincent)
03. No History  
04. Tanz Mit Laibach (feat. Attila Csihar)
05. Eurovision
06. Smrt Za Smrt
07. Das Spiel Ist Aus  
08. Slovenska Akropola (feat. Jørgen Munkeby)

The Slovenian best-known metallers Noctiferia, who paved the way for the extreme metal forms in Slovenia in the early 90s, have finally released the highly anticipated and a long-ago announced exclusive album, Reforma - Tribute To Laibach. Noctiferia is most certainly not that kind of a band who'll do bodged kind of things, and that's, I guess, the main reason why we need to wait for four or five years between each release of theirs. Returning five years after their acoustic/experimental/folk release Transnatura and seven years after their last "metal" album PAX, the band from Ljubljana offers the highlight of their career, a tribute album to Slovenian avant-garde/industrial legends Laibach.

The guys of Noctiferia never hide the fact that Laibach is one of their biggest influences, and that's pretty much evident in their music, especially since they made a stylistic change from black/death metal into the extreme industrial metal hybrid. Reforma consists of seven meticulously made covers of Laibach songs, plus a short intro, which is the only original Noctiferia thing up here. These songs are not just usual covers, a different kind of invocation is implemented here, a different kind of groove, intensity and straight extremity that blows from the heavily atmospheric and martial rhythmic slaps. Technically perfective, thorough, done with devotion, yet you can hear some of the best vocal lines in the history of Noctiferia. Not only because of the guests like are the metal legends, David Vincent (ex-Morbid Angel, Vltimas, I Am Morbid) and Attila Csihar (Mayhem), who both delivered solid vocal performances on two songs, also the vocalist Gianni did a good job, especially on my favourite track "No History".

Adorned with the rather provocative but well-fitting album cover art, this album is not meant only for fans of Noctiferia and Laibach. It's a mature obeisance to one of the most important alternative bands out there. Noctiferia most fascinatingly breaks the last remaining borders between the industrial and extreme metal. I can't get rid of the sense that here and there they are similar to a compelling extreme version of the German industrial rock/metal titans Rammstein. Especially because of all the captivating moments that shine in all its glory in before mentioned "No History", and in the pounding doomy mind penetrating rendition of "Eurovision", both tracks originally appearing on Laibach's album Spectre. Thick rhythmic lines, distinctive guitar riffs, gloomy, sometimes almost gothic-ambient synths, and many well added electronic samples form a cohesive wall of shivery sonic mass. Even if this album has more or less nothing to do with death or black metal, it comes near to some post-black-death-industrial in the lucid avant-garde rendition of "Smrt Za Smrt".

The absolute power is not expressed through brutality but by mind drilling and machine pumping experimental compositions. It's nice to hear and discover all those layers that form this mass of sounds, yet the band managed to obtain raw and fierce stylistic expression. The previous excursion into ethnic music with Transnatura left some marks, heard in the closing rather psychotic track "Slovenska Akropola", which features some playful saxophone lines provided by Jørgen Munkeby (Shining). If you want to get some real bombastic metal, then you'll need to stick with "Now You Will Pay" or with a martial thumping in the cover of Laibach's classic "Tanz Mit Laibach". If you listen carefully to the guitar lines you'll notice that Noctiferia are becoming more and more progressive, even slightly psychedelic, and keep with modern metal movement, sometimes also venturing in some nu-metal industrial waters.

The machine doesn't stop, and there is no time to take a deep breath. If we exclude the first releases of the band, this album is one of the darkest things that Noctiferia ever did. It's a great tribute to the pioneers of industrial music, Laibach, and they should be proud of what Noctiferia did. Even if there are many twists and additions to the original versions, the songs are still recognizable, palatable for a wider audience, but most certainly are not an easy listen, because neither Laibach nor Noctiferia is such a band. I believe that covering Laibach, who are masters in doing covers, is far from being easy. Every detail is important, and there's a whole universe of things on which you need to pay attention, or you can risk drowning in some half-done mediocrity. Noctiferia conjured something worth your time, and once again validated their status as the leading Slovenian metal band.

The review was written by Tomaz
Rating: 8/10

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