Review: Killing Joke - Killing Joke
12/27/05 update: Well, the killing joke was on me this time. The cd reviewed below is not the 1980 debut but the 2003 cd of the same title. That's the problem with using burned cds instead of having the original discs. On my work computer the songs only come up as track 1, 2, 3 etc. so I rely on allmusic and amazon for title lists. I made a few changes here and there. Oh well...
I came late to Killing Joke's debut album (I'm still waiting!). Last week to be exact. 25 (2) years late I be. Jeez, you can't buy everything that comes out. I imagine this must have been pure danger back then. It's really good now but also kind of quaint when you compare it to bands that took Killing Joke's aggressive and heavy tribal sound and took it beyond the nth degree. I visit a friend at his job at a head shop. Drugs are illegal but crack pipes aren't as long as you can them oil burners. He always plays the kind of death/grind/something metal where the drummer kicks double bass pedals and the singer sounds like the Cookie Monster vomiting. Compared to this Killing Joke are The Carpenters.
Their 2003 cd with the same name as their debut once again proves that pounding drums bring out the savage human beast. I like drum circles in theory because the caveman in me grunts merrily. Sadly only hippies do drum circles and I can only tolerate them in theory. If rave never happened I imagine the hu-persons in The Matrix Revolutions would be dancing to Killing Joke instead of DJ PuffNStuff. The slow tunes on Killing Joke are heavy metal, and stadium rockers too where you can wave your lighter-holding arms over your head while singing along with the "uh oooooo uhs". The fast numbers are pretty exciting and full of pep.
Killing Joke are probably against a lot of stuff like government but without a lyrics sheet I can't tell if they're pre-apocalyptic, apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic. There's gotta be C.H.U.D. in there somewhere. "The Death & Resurrection Show" opens with a robotic vocal intro that goes right into the pounding. Technology is destroyed by the primitive or something? Jaz Coleman sings the slow ones like he has throat cancer. He can also make a gargling sound on demand. On "Asteroid" I could swear Lee Ving is singling for a while. "Seeing Red" is my favorite track. This is a great record even if I don't get in to the slow stuff. They created a great and original sound.