Opus Dei (Life Is Life)

Oh the joys of making decisions between multiple shows and seemingly picking the wrong one!

Yesterday I passed up the chance to finally break my live Laibach duck in London for a chance to see Michigan based death metal / grind core band Repulsion, also for the first time. They were due to play in Manchester, unfortunately the pair of UK Repulsion dates were scrapped, for whatever reason that hasn’t been disclosed yet, a few weeks ago which meant train prices were too high to justify a trip to the capital. One day I’ll see Laibach.

Last year they played a few dates around Easter and Manchester was one of them. Last Easter I was already committed to a death metal double header by seeing Dutch bands Thanatos and Asphyx in London.

Laibach haven’t played the UK much in the later stages of their career and as with most bands, the majority of those dates have been in or around London.

Listening to Laibach goes right back to the (very) late 80’s and early 90’s and my tape trading days. A couple of the guys I traded with used to send random stuff and one day I got a copy of the bands album Let It Be – basically the Yugoslavian bands take on The Beatles album of the same name. A few trades later I received the Sympathy For The Devil EP – seven versions of the Rolling Stones track. The bands Opus Dei release was on the flip side of the TDK D-90 cassette, which was almost my first foray into an original Laibach album.

I probably didn’t listen to much more by the band for quite some time until I dropped on Jesus Christ Superstar and NATO in the mid 1990’s. The bands industrial styled marching music can be hard going at times and the mood has to take me before I binge on the band. Not exactly the most upbeat music I have in my library.

Formed way back in 1980 behind the Iron Curtain in the town of Trbovlje, in what is now Slovenia. Their name is derived from the German name of their countries capital city Ljubljana when they were occupied by the Germans during World War II. Over the years they have courted much controversy in their native land and in parts of Europe. They have been accused of politically being far right AND left, neo nationalists and even fascists. A lot of this is down to their totalitarian imagery and use of military style uniforms and hardly ever being out of character. Rammstein have acknowledged them as an influence on their own music and aesthetics. In 2004 Rammstein even had a Laibach remix of the track Ohne Dich included on the single of the same name.

In August of 2015 the band became the first western band to play in Pyongyang, North Korea, when they performed two shows there, to commemorate 70 years since Japanese colonial rule ended in Korea. Apparently a documentary was made with the band during their visit, that could be an interesting watch when it surfaces.

This track is a subversive reworking of the song Live is Life by Austrian pop rock band and one hit wonders Opus, performed in Laibach’s familiar trade mark martial style.