1. The Death and Resurrection Show
2. Total Invasion
5. Blood On Your Hands
6. Loose Cannon
7. You'll Never Get To Me
8. Seeing Red
9. Dark Forces
10. The House That Pain Built
Manic Maniacs Maniacally Making Memorable Music – 8.5/10
Alright, all jokes aside, prepare for Killing Joke’s ruthless comeback after a short time of absence. After Democracy, which I see as one of their weaker efforts, the band disappeared into the clouds again only to emerge fresher, more powerful and above all heavier than ever before. That’s right. Killing Joke are taking their trademark danceable vibes more into the savage world of metal than ever before on their self-titled eleventh full-length. Most bands that emerged in the early eighties are not really adding anything memorable to their often impressive catalogue, but Killing Joke never stops writing new classics.
And so we have another terrific album by industrial rock pioneers Killing Joke. Do they ever stop? Not if it’s up to them. Coleman, Geordie and both Youth ánd Raven, which is odd since they’re both bassists, have reunited only to show that Killing Joke is still as relevant in 2003 as they were back in 1980 when they released their self-titled debut, which still holds the most classics. With Coleman slowly turning into a monster by increasingly using his bellowing voice, this album is very aggressive. They hired Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl to play drums on this record, which sounds very good. The combination of Killing Joke with Dave Grohl turns out to be aggressive with very punctual rhythms without losing that dance-vibe the band always had. Perhaps this is also the most industrial album they’ve recording, after 1994’s Pandemonium of course.
So then as “The Death and Resurrection Show” kicks in it sounds like an occult ritual. A threatening monotone voice takes you into a trance with the punctual vibes of the guitars on the background. Quickly enough the drums join in and Coleman turns into a monster, giving the song a bit of ‘summon-the-beast’ ambience. One song you can’t evade is the in-your-face “Asteroid”, starting of quite chaotically before an aggressive load of choppy, punctual riffs and rhythms kicks in. With “Implant” we once more have a similar riff and rhythm and the trick is getting old here. When the chorus mainly features Coleman bellowing without the music underneath the track really can annoy me. “Blood On Your Hands” is a totally different kind of song and is mainly driven by the anger about the way of the world in 2003, which is exactly the entire feel of the song and provides it with a lot of energy. One of my personal favourites would be the single “Loose Cannon”; it’s very industrial, very groovy and has a slow but certain headbanging-vibe to it. This track really stands for ‘simplicity is the key’. There’s a ballad in “You’ll Never Get To Me”, but it doesn’t stop the band from making it rough. It’s slightly more melodic and gentler than the other tracks and at times even tends to be epic, but is not at all a black sheep on this album, for it’s equally heavy and anger-fuelled. “Seeing Red” also sounds like a single and is similar to, but notably less than, “Blood On Your Hands” as it has the same upbeat rhythm with aggressive tone. The album does end on a high note with the, yes, epic “The House That Pain Built”. It so powerfully concludes Killing Joke’s plea of anger you’d instantly want to put the album on repeat again.
You might have noticed that I ‘accidentally’ forgot to mention two tracks. Don’t get me all that wrong, they fit well within the concept of this record and there is some very nice riffage on “Total Invasion” as well as a great dark atmosphere in “Dark Forces”, due to the low orchestral themes of the intro. But they both contain a new experiment by vocalist Jaz Coleman: the whisper-grunt, as I like to call it. He never truly grunts, but likes to bellow monstrously every now and then… now imagine that in a whisper. I absolutely hate it and I’m glad he didn’t do it more often.
In short, Killing Joke for a change decided to make another great album with again a very distinct sound and its fair share of classics. It’s not sure to please Killing Joke fans of the early hours, but those that loved their 90s work should definitely dig this. Highly recommended.
Strongest tracks: “The Death and Resurrection Show”, “Loose Cannon” and “The House That Pain Built”.
Weakest tracks: “Total Invasion” and “Implant”.
7 hours ago