[Reviewed by: Peter Marks]
I cannot stop playing this album. It is the promise of ‘Kapital’ fulfilled through the splendor of ‘Volk’! This one’s going to be analyzed by the faithful and no doubt will provoke a lot of nay-saying. Musically, ‘Spectre’ is quite restrained and if you found their latest live DVD to be to your liking then you’ll wind up as I have: pushing the repeat button each time this record ends. I’d imagine the same line-up who were on ‘Dead in Trbovlje’ are responsible for this new one so all you ‘Opus Dei’ purists might do well to skip what’s going on here. The bombast has been reigned in and more intricate programming is on display along with superb female vocals.
Strident at some points and inhumanly robotic at others.
Laibach provoke once again, as they always do, but this time out it is far more subtle. The malaise our world has crumbled into thanks to unchecked capitalism and ruthless militarism are given close examination by the band (if you can call them that) and nothing is accepted at face value. This bunch look into the causes of our planet’s woes and once more expose through their biting cynicism and satire those hidden levers of power which are kept shrouded by those who utilize them.
You only have to look at what’s going on in Ukraine to begin to see how pertinent Laibach’s message is. There’s no questioning, you scrounging proles, obey the state. We know what’s best and through the usage of image manipulation and outright nationalistic pandering we will get you to do our bidding. In my own country, this is generally achieved by the enslavement of so many through the all-seeing eye of television. Why read when you can just switch on, tune out and bloat up. Many of us prefer this kind of insular gilded cage; don’t bother walking those few blocks, fat ass, get in your guzzler and hit up the drive through.
Oh I’m sure that once more there will be the inevitable chorus of voices who question Laibach’s sincerity and intent. This outfit have become more and more subversively brilliant with each work they issue and ‘Spectre’ may well be them at their most potent. Yes, it is very low-key for the most part but that only makes for more stark moments of clarity when they do choose to up the tension and tempo. Many many questions are being asked but who will answer? Are we going to stay like this or is there any kind of way out from the destructive cycle humanity now finds itself trapped in. I’ve heard quite a lot of chatter lately about how Laibach are just a former shadow of themselves, how they are no longer dangerous whatsoever…
I call bullshit on this. The perceptions of the individual are the best indicator with regard to what level of threat Laibach present. If you feel they’re simple fascists, then they undoubtedly are. If you think they only lampoon popular culture through cover versions, you’re absolutely correct. If you appreciate them as master recordists who chronicle the unending struggle against the forces of chaos and despair, then that is what they are. Laibach are everything used to describe them and they are none of it because while the tongues wag they pursue their own agenda. An agenda known to no one but them.
I’d certainly never attempt to categorize what they’ve done and continue to do as anything other than a collective who are part of an expedition to explore the interplay between policies (be they political, social or economic) and the people they affect. Life is life, indeed.