Tag Archives: killing joke

Killing Joke – Absolute Dissent

splash_kj_newalbumLess than four days to go until Killing Joke’s new album, Absolute Dissent, is available for download and I already love it.

Someone on Twitter said that it was all a bit meta, listening to Killing Joke sound as if they’ve been influenced by the bands they’ve influenced. Whoever they were, I know what they mean… The Great Cull reminds me of the Queens of the Stone Age somehow, This World Hell sounds like a Norwegian metal band covering a Black Sabbath song. It even has a single bended guitar note and a bluesy-like riff towards the end, which is dangerously close to ROCK for Geordie if you ask me.

And if you listen very carefully you can just about hear Kylie Minogue doing her breathy backing vocals on European Super State in the opening disco sequence. I reckon.

But then again, Killing Joke always manage to sound like more like themselves than anyone else, Depth Charge is a riff-driven punk anthem with old skool coughing up flegm and worrying vocal ticks. It sounds like he’s blowing raspberries in the opening few bars. I hope he is. There can’t be (m)any songs out there with a deliberate fart sound included. I love the synth drifting in and out (which should be higher in the mix) and Jaz’s distorted lyrics which are almost like a new Wardance.

The thing that strikes me most about this album is the thing that I like about all the best Killing Joke albums. It is the meeting of four distinct characters, Jaz, Geordie, Paul and Youth. For me, when that balance was altered it all started going a shade Duran Duran, until Pandemonium even.  Youth’s bass is brilliant throughout, and just like when I was trying to work out how to play the bass lines on What’s This For? a lot of the time you can’t work out what the hell he’s doing, but you can feel it, it’s the perfect foil for Geordie’s uniquely thinned discordant sound.

And in Endgame, at the beginning are they singing “meow… meow!” … Go listen. I can imagine them in battered and burned Sylvester the Cat outfits with Jaz dressed at Tweetie Pie staggering out of a mushroom cloud of dust …  for some reason.

Like all of Joke’s albums, I tend to be agnostic about half of the songs on each… this is no different and a like that. To me it means they’re trying, experimenting, getting it wrong sometimes.

If I had any criticisms of the album it would be that I wish, every now again Paul would up the tribal style he made his own for a few bars ( if only for old times sake ) and that Jaz’s “mouth of hell” synth sounds, the sort you get on the Pandys or Unspeakable is missing or just too low in the mix.

I also think European Super State could have been much, much cheesier, with a huge arms in the air intro (say at least 5 minutes)… and it needs disco hand claps… and probably hot pants.

So, here they are roughly in my order of preference…

European Super State

End Game

Depth Charge

The Great Cull

Fresh Fever

Here Comes The Singularity

The Ghost of Ladbroke Grove

Honour the Fire

In Excelsis

The Raven King

Killing Joke – In Excelsis

Anyone that knows me knows that this year I have been completely obsessed with listening to Killing Joke. I’ve listened to an album a day for almost every day for six months on my walk to work. I’ve even been studying Killing Joke albums that I loathe, the ones between 1983 and 1993 when Jaz Coleman had a bit of a breakdown of sorts, had his hair permed, grew a moustache, thought the world was about to end and Killing Joke the band went all Simple Minds on me. Bad times, bad albums… still.

I don’t consider myself the OCD type at all but I have to admit that it has to be slightly obsessed, to listen to stuff you don’t like in the hope that somehow you learn to love it. It’s like torture. You can browse both the good and the bad Joke stuff on the Dipity timeline I made of Killing Joke’s career here… or in my You Tube Killing Joke playlist here (which also has relevant bands in too)… ahem… Not obsessed at all.

I don’t really know why I like Killing Joke that much. Of course, everyone has the band, which for them just seemed to have meant so much, you know, when you were 14 or 15… don’t they? For most people I guess they grow out of it, or the band turns crap, like Adam & the Ants and Death Cult did or they break up or music simply starts to matter less.

All of these happened with Killing Joke, but in 1994 whilst I was stripping wallpaper, they got back together again and started making that strange discordant noise that only they can do … listen to Whiteout (spotify link) or Exorcism (spotify link) from the Pandemonium album and tell me it’s not the most noisiest fantastic din ever created). The latter was recorded in a Great Pyramid and has coughs in (like a lot of Killing Joke songs)  dontchaknow.

I mean, try to these two live songs below on YouTube (only 87 views btw), Requiem (one of their first) and Total Invasion (one of the most recent) and they’re pure punk… with a hint of disco. Guitars you can dance to. If you wanted.

I relax to this (The Hum from Revelations). Killing Joke are my whales singing… my birds tweeting in a forest… by a sea with crashing waves…

And so, on the longest day (yesterday), Killing Joke have release an EP called  In Excelsis (go listen for free) which I’m not so sure about.  It has a dub track which is fun and Endgame sounds to me like Lemmy from Motorhead (no bad thing) but it’s not quite Killing Joke, or rather the Killing Joke I love which falls between 1980 – 1984 and 1994 and now ( please don’t listen to Love Like Blood or Sanity or America which are so bad I still get embarrassed for them). I’ve give it another few thousand listens before I pass judgement but at the moment… I’m slightly disappointed…

Anyway, I have been both worrying about my ever increasing Killing Joke obsession and at the same time writing a TV script (a bit like those wonderful Rock Family Trees show) to explain “Why Killing Joke Are Ace” to my mate Dave because I’ve got tickets to see them in October and he needs a little persuasion that they, and not Pink Floyd are the best bend that ever walked the earth – even if they did go a little potty in the 80s… I mean, who didn’t?