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Laibach - Spectre (2014) - Review

Band: Laibach
Album title: Spectre
Release Date: 11 March 2014
Label: Mute

01. The Whistleblower
02. No History     
03. Eat Liver!    
04. Americana      
05. We Are Millions And Millions Are One     
06. Eurovision      
07. Walk With Me     
08. Bossanova   
09. Resistance Is Futile
10. Koran   
11. The Parade      
12. Love On The Beat     
13. Just Say No!
14. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean

As it comes to the fact that both – Laibach and I – come from Slovenia, I can’t help myself but to burst with joy and pride whenever I get around the news the band is mastering a new album. Spectre was something I anticipated quite anxiously, since it is the first Laibach original album since 2006’s conceptual work Volk. Speaking of originality, it is a bit humours to use that specific term, since Laibach has previously stated that the band members do not believe in originality and has proven us such by releasing many industrialized versions of classical songs, covering classic rock acts such as Rolling Stones, Queen, The Beatles and Europe among others. The band also holds a neo-classical approach in its rich discography, which has recently been stated by releasing LAIBACHKUNSTDERFUGE, which is a reinterpretation and homage to one of the greatest names in classical music, Johan Sebastian Bach.
Being around for more than 30 years and still ongoing with strong idealism, imagery and striking force, Laibach is back with full power and on an exploratory mission to boldly go, where it hasn’t gone before (if you had the same association as me, when I first saw one of the song in entitled “Resistance Is Futile”, you know what I did there). Spectre is another masterpiece in the band’s hall of fame and is, as the name already indicates, a spectre of various musical styles veiled in its trademark sound. Hard and pounding beats, dense in electronics, trumpets here and there, memorable keyboard melodies and haunting vocals create a music collage, which will strike you at the first listening. It will put you in a trance, raise your heart beat, penetrate the deepest and darkest corners of your mind, conquer your body and make you want to dance, make you want to “tanz mit Laibach”! (Dance with Laibach!)

The album opener “The Whistleblowers” in characterized by a gentle and upbeat whistle melody that develops into a highly motivational tune. As we live the era of deep political, economic, social crisis and overall crisis of the spirit, whistleblowers that have appeared in the media have become the heroes of nation and the foes of our authorities. Just as whistleblowers may have given us a ray of hope, reminding us that even though we’ve been fed lies, we have the power to stand for ourselves, that is the exactly the spirit this Laibach song brings with its energy. The song is simply oozing with motivation and bright prospect. “Eat Liver!” and “The Parade “on the other hand are characterized by a raw energetic flow that will overflow your entire body. “Walk With Me” holds a typical “Laibachian” hypnotic ambient, whilst “Koran” slows down the tempo as the only ballad of the album. “Resistance Is Futile” is definitely a track which will stick to your mind, as it features a typical 80s keyboard tune (and by “typical 80s”I mean “Cop Of Beverly Hills 80s”) and is in its almost 7 minutes of length full of unexpected and radical twists, switching from calm to strenuous, from gracious to striking. What a beautiful balanced distortion! This may not make any sense, but it does when Laibach does it. And just when I was so surprised, the album had almost all lyrics in English this time, there it was. I heard it alas! Blitzkrieg! Blitzkrieg! What would Laibach be without German lyrics? I’m not sure, but I would definitely miss an album with solely English lyrics. But we’re not done here yet. There’s “Eurovision”, one of the most powerful tracks of the album, with the strong message of today’s overall situation Europe is dealing with. “We Are Millions And Millions Are One” flirts with a slight jazzy vibe, whilst “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” is the dance electronic anthem of Spectre. Mixing so many different music genres may not be new for Laibach, as it is a fundamentally avant-garde act, but this time the band has gone further than even and shown there are no boundaries in music.
I can’t go by without mentioning that the vocal work brings a lot of spirit into Spectre. Laibach’s “Vier Personen” would not be what they are without the charismatic vocalist Milan Fras. The mesmerizing and deep colour of his voice along his unique vocal technique is still present and will overtake you from head to toe. But this time Laibach decided to incorporate Mina Špiler, their tour musician, as a vocalist. This added a whole new level of energy and atmosphere to the album, as her incredible vocal potential is exploited to the maximum. Špiler possesses so many different vocal techniques and she blends in with each and every song just perfectly; she can sound like a ravishing fury or like graceful sirene and creates a very strong counterpoint to Milan’s vocals.
Laibach is not just a band; it’s a composition of musical and visual arts, with its strongest point being its absolutely astonishing and incredibly hypnotic live performances. Specte will definitely be a treat for the Laibach enthusiast live; I’m sure the powerful and trip-like performances will exponent the vigour of the songs to the very limit. It’s not unusual that Laibach has influenced so many different music bands and project over all the years, even some gigantic industrial acts (yes Rammstein, I’m talking about you), as they truly are a unique artistic composure. This is Laibach – and you will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

Review written by: Ines
Rating: 9,5/10