LAIBACH Jesus Christ Superstars (Mute)

"Jesus Christ Superstars" is the eighth album from Laibach, probably best known to curious British music enthusiasts for their ‘original covers’ of Queen’s "One Vision", Mick ‘n’ Keef’s "Sympathy For The Devil" and The Beatles’ "Let It Be" album in its entirety ("in essence paralleling the disintegration of pop’s utopian dream with the accelerating disintegration of Tito’s dream utopia of a single multi-cultured Yugoslavia", apparently). Now, through the medium of heavy metal, which, Laibach say, "is the closest rock has come to establishing itself as an ethical ignoring the scorn heaped on it by the novelty-obsessed media, and by remaining true to itself through its 25-year existence", they tackle "the role of religion, its uses and misuses at the tail-end of the 20th century." (There’s about five pages of this stuff, by the way). En route they cover Andrew Lloyd Webber’s "Jesus Christ Superstar", Prince’s magnificent "The Cross" and Juno Reactor’s somewhat less than magnificent "God Is God", mixing in catchy, swinging originals of their own such as "Abuse And Confession" and "Declaration Of Freedom".

Undoubtedly, Laibach take themselves extremely seriously, and they are out to scare, shock and confront whenever possible. Unfortunately, unless you’re on a serious Trent Reznor tip, you may find that they sound not entirely unlike Black Sabbath fronted by an asthmatic Speak And Spell machine covering The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu song book. One destined to be filed in the "Antithesis of Entertainment " box along with Baader Meinhof’s recent debut album, I fear.