”Anthems” is the Laibach greatest hit album plus a disc of various mixes. Containing most of the classic songs from ”Brat Moj” up to the brand new single ”Das Spiel ist aus” (from the latest album "WAT"), it is otherwise unremarkable except for the accompanying 40 page booklet not included with this promo and the one previously unreleased track on the first disc. ”Mama Leone” is one of those truly inspired cover choices of Laibach, on par with ”One Vision” by Queen when a piece of symphonic rock sleaze was transformed into ”Geburt einer Nation” (which is naturally also on this compilation), a truly frightening national anthem.
The life of the the song’s German-Hungarian songwriter Drafi Deutscher with his many artist aliases, and the story of how ”Mama Leone” became a monster hit in Italy are almost as fascinating in themselves as the darkly tinted, exquisite Laibach version of the song. The true nature of Mama Leone – who is praised as an angel of compassion and whose passing is mourned in the lyrics – as well as hopes of a brighter future is left in doubt by the trademark Laibach treatment of ominous acoustics and deep bass vocals.
Laibach wisely concentrated their latest effort ”WAT” on mainly original material, seeing as their choices as well as treatments of covers had long before started becoming increasingly predictable and boring. ”Mama Leone” marks an interesting new direction with some potential, the like of which I haven’t heard on a Laibach album since ”Kapital”.
On that album Laibach were developing in a completely unexpected fashion, and apparently raised enough interest in the electronic dance community to warrant a remix of ”Wirtschaft ist Tot” by Richie Hawtin, present here. Yet I can’t mobilize much interest for any of the mixes included on this compilation. They’re okay, but exactly how are slightly sped up versions of songs with the vocals removed and substituted dance beats so very interesting? The most recent mixes are a bit better, ranging from glitch electronica to grandiose reconstructions like ”WAT” in iTURK’s treatment.