Laibach
Also Sprach Zarathustra


4.0
excellent

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
July 16th, 2017 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Like a hazy, cold night spent in a derelict town...

Slovenian natives Laibach have been one of the longest standing industrial bands out there, enjoying several waves of underground success during their 37-year career. After their 1987 breakthrough with Opus Dei, on which they covered in a rather striking manner ‘Live is Life’ by Opus and Queen’s ‘Birth of a Nation’ (retitled ‘Geburt einer Nation’), the musicians garnered mixed opinions regarding their political beliefs. The inner sleeve featured a swastika consisting of 4 blooded axes, thus fueling this confusion if they were pro or anti fascism. This notoriety offered a fast emergence, so the group went on to release a string of critically acclaimed LPs during the next years. Lately, they became the first band to tour North Korea whilst preparing a new release, Also Sprach Zarathustra. This is an update of the music composed for the eponymous theatrical production based on Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophical novel (it premiered in March 2016 in their home country). Compared to its predecessor, Spectre, which was a nihilistic yet energetic affair designed for live performances, this effort is the soundtrack equivalent to a cold November night spent outside in a damp, derelict town.

In many ways, this aspect is Also Sprach Zarathustra’s main appeal, because it creates a dark, brooding atmosphere with little instrumentation. It focuses on haunting sound scapes, along with occasional inclusions of Eber and Mina’s heavily contrasting vocals. The orchestral arrangements found on the bookending cuts, ‘Vor Sonnen-Untergang’ and ‘Vor Sonnen-Aufgang’ are deceivingly peaceful and beautiful, as you are rapidly thrown into an icy night setting (hence the title of the tracks: before sunset & before sunrise, respectively). The latter features Mina’s pristine voice, a sign of leaving behind the encompassing darkness at the end of the record. The gorgeous track, whose impact is substantially amplified within the sonic context, is one of the nicest tunes Laibach penned so far. Returning to the dark ambient core, we’re left stranded into a blurry, delusional journey, where bleak synths and scattered, harsh percussion slowly push us forward. On ‘Ein Untergang’, ‘Ein Verkundiger’ and ‘Das Nachtlied I’, Eber’s incredibly low timbre speaks to us in a detached manner over airy, cinematic sound scapes, offering some insight through paraphrasing from the original work. The uneasy vibe he firmly sends us is staggering, especially on a first listen.

Thankfully, we also get some more established instrumentals like ‘Das Nachtlied II’, ‘Von Gipfel zu Gipfel’ or ‘Die Unschuld II’ where frosty piano lines accompany some vaguely motorik or marching beats. Very few melodic moments appear during this long middle stretch, but when they do they’re like a breath of fresh air. ‘Als Geist’ paves the way for the sunrise’s harmonic notes, making this lovely transition through glitchy keyboard patterns that gradually leave the often harrowing ambient structures behind. The interesting yet head scratching decision to place the harsh, blizzard-like drone ‘Von Den Drei Verwandlungen’ as an album closer after ‘Vor Sonnen-Aufgang’, brings some mixed feelings whether you actually left that cold place or you’re still trapped into that somber world you’ve just experienced for the most part of the album. Still, for those who will get the digital release, you can move it within the track list, depending on how you want to end this moody trip.

Overall, for a band that will soon enter its fourth decade of activity, Laibach sound impressively fresh and relevant. I am sure Also Sprach Zarathustra will raise many eyebrows, but also receive critical acclaim for its effective minimalist approach. Nevertheless, this dichotomy that defines the group has also been a major part of its charm and here it is featured in all its beauty. Perhaps the record might have benefited from more structured tracks in between instrumental ones, however, it would’ve become a different adventure. Moreover, I am sure it makes a lot more sense for this to be experienced alongside the theatrical production which it was designed for, yet this way, you’re left to imagine yourself in that uneasy setting. So, take this captivating soundtrack as it is and enjoy it.



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Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 16th 2017


4343 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really cool and interesting record. Can't wait to see them in November.



Stream here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h67B3aRPXyA

Digging: The Flying Eyes - Burning the Season

Flugmorph
July 16th 2017


17040 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

great this is exactly what music needs rn

Digging: Perturbator - New Model

Relinquished
July 16th 2017


36337 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

agreed

RLWFormula
July 16th 2017


287 Comments


Man, these guys are weird. I'll have to check this

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2017


4343 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is weirder than the previous stuff I listened from them haha. Really cool band.

SnakeDelilah
July 17th 2017


19750 Comments


yeah fascists are most certainly cool haha

Digging: END (NJ) - From the Unforgiving Arms of God

BigBlob
July 17th 2017


2714 Comments


you actually fell for it

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
July 17th 2017


13089 Comments


tried reading thus spake zarasthutra recentely, got 100 pages in and gave up. turgid lot of masturbatory shit

Digging: Palais Schaumburg - Palais Schaumburg

Alastor
July 17th 2017


1733 Comments


the book is like a twisted, dreamlike version of the new testament. You don't read it like an ordinary novel, just like you don't read the Bible on a sunny, carefree day.

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
July 17th 2017


13089 Comments


yeah, i didnt read it like an ordinary novel. didnt stop it from being shieeeet

Relinquished
July 17th 2017


36337 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"tried reading thus spake zarasthutra recentely, got 100 pages in and gave up."



well aren't you easy

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
July 17th 2017


13089 Comments


sorry papa nietzsche



Relinquished
July 17th 2017


36337 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ppl like u are why he wrote it

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
July 17th 2017


13089 Comments


he wrote it for white middle class philosophy students who suffer from haemorrhoids?

hal1ax
July 17th 2017


8287 Comments


genealogy of morals is lit. just finished it

BallsToTheWall
July 18th 2017


48013 Comments


Sweet!

Digging: Old Sorcery - Realms of Magickal Sorrow

Piglet
July 19th 2017


7285 Comments


oh damn this band is still making music

BigBlob
July 19th 2017


2714 Comments


aye they did an album in 2015 aswell.

Cimnele
August 3rd 2017


1239 Comments


heeeeeeeere comes der mensch

Flugmorph
August 20th 2017


17040 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

loving the atmosphere on here



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