A Closer Communion*, the 1997 debut release from UK gothic rock band Libitina, showcased a variety of influences, directed by distinctive and energetic vocals (which occasionally exhibited a slight Rozz Williams influence). However, this album failed to truly impress me. While there were a few standout tracks, A Closer Communion simply didn't strike me as an excellent album overall (amusing Pulp parody/cover notwithstanding).
So, enter album #2 from Libitina, Weltanschauung. Despite my lukewarm reception on A Closer Communion, I was definitely looking forward to checking the new album out. After all, despite all of the problems with their first album, Libitina still struck me as a band with promise, and, as it turns out, Weltanschauung is an improvement over its predecessor in all aspects.
The sound of the new album is, essentially, a more refined version of the sound presented on the band's debut; solid gothic rock with an even blend of electronics and guitars. Weltanschauung is mostly an upbeat album, exhibiting both raw punk fervor and pop sensibility, shown most effectively in tracks like War Paint and Thalatta Thalatta (which was obviously made for the purpose of populating dancefloors).
Though full of vitality, the vocals may, at times, grate on the average listener during more atonal moments (a manifestation of the aforementioned Rozz Williams, or perhaps early Danse Society, influence). There is also a token "What were they thinking?" track, Virgins, which appears to bridge the gap between EBM/Darkwave and death metal, though I'm not entirely certain as to the amount of appeal it will have to the average fan of either genre.
With Weltanschauung, Libitina has shown the world another piece of evidence supporting the allegation that there are, in fact, quality gothic rock acts still in existence and releasing new material. I heartily recommend at least one listening of this album to any fans of the genre, regardless of whether or not they are actively seeking evidence of this sort.
Reviewed in Legends #93, December 1999.
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