Despite their eventual transformation into one of the more entertaining and accessible groups in the industrial underground, the first few years of Laibach's career produced some of the most challenging music ever committed to record. Much like the early work of Einstürzende Neubauten or Throbbing Gristle, this is a very politically motivated form of expression that utilizes terror, unease, and fear to motivate listeners. On Rekapitulacija 1980-84, these early years are documented into a collection that sums up this period accurately, from the gruff chalk-drawings that adorn the packaging to the militaristic imagery found in the booklet. The music inside is nearly impossible to penetrate, from the harsh sounds of metal scraping (a commonly used "instrument") to the deep-voiced groans that spew words of political uprising in their native language. Hailing from the Republic of Slovenia (which was still a part of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia), the group's unconventional approach seems appropriate considering the grim political situation of the time. These songs have meaning on several levels, since the band's inception was part of a high-concept idea that the Western music industry was a capitalist business plan that thrived on political rallies disguised as rock concerts and media manipulation based in repetition. On top of that, their homeland had been ravaged by Nazi Germany in the '40s, and the memory of those events had plagued their population for years after. So the music here is not only extreme in the sense that it barely resembles known recorded music, but the use of this sort of imagery and language brought to mind the German propaganda that was feared even in the early '80s. Extreme in almost every way, Rekapitulacija was also a significant step forward in the evolution of industrial music. By showing that the genre had the ability to make a significant political statement, they not only made an impact in Europe but gained the ability to break into the Western market, their intended target. Although hard to take even years later, Rekapitulacija is an important record that reflects how vital and passionate the genre felt at the time, and why this would inspire legions of angry youth to pick up samplers and make their own statement.
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AllMusic Review by Bradley Torreano