Killing Joke - _Hosannas From the Basements of Hell_
(Cooking Vinyl USA, 2006)
by: Aaron McKay (10 out of 10)
To mention in passing my modest position as a reviewer to explore the depths of a band such as Killing Joke is much like shoveling sand against the oceanic tide; no amount of effort in this regard will yield anything but futility. We will leave it as this: my small contribution in an official capacity meekly "publicizing" the juggernaut that is Killing Joke is humbling and indeed completely my pleasure. To hell with objective journalism -- this one will have bias written all over it.

An honorable Lifetime Achievement Award, a career spanning twenty-five plus years, in addition to their influence on incalculable hordes of band members spanning the entire globe; what could conceivable remain to be said about this eight hundred pound gorilla? After much consternation on this point, the answer could only be _Hosannas From the Basements of Hell_.

This newest Killing Joke release will unquestionably set the gold standard for earth-quaking, dark industrial metal from now on. The essence of the thick richness KJ pours out on this album is like a slow motion visual of a mastodon's death throes in the warm asphalt of the La Brea Tar Pits. This band's music becomes more of an emotion than simple sound vibrating the tympanic membrane. It is overused, but Killing Joke's creations are designed to be experienced; if you merely listen or hear this band, Killing Joke's existence is utterly lost on you as a listener.

If the premise is accepted that inspiration is reflected from your surroundings, the fact that most of _Hosannas From the Basements of Hell_ was recorded in a basement studio in Prague might communicate the tone struck on this effort. Nine tracks totaling over an hour of cohesive, arduously mechanical heaviness, _HFtBoH_ is a study in principle of less-is-more. While offering a disc with more than ample play time, the material is uncluttered, dense, and opaque in style and delivery.

Even the track listing is uncomplicated, most with one word titles: "Invocation", "Implosion", "Majestic", "Lightbringer" and the last song, "Gratitude". Following up the less utilized mid-paced temp on the album, "Judas Goat" and "Gratitude" bring _HFtBoH_ to an astounding close. Adding to the release's desolate overtones, the virile, earthy vocals, a la Jaz Coleman (The Black Jester), provide a clean conceptualization of KJ's message.

Along with Paul Raven, Geordie Walker and Ben Calvert, Jaz expects to plot a course of concert venues incorporating a tour of war zones -- Taiwan, Cambodia, Kashmir and Lebanon. According to the band, this is to possibly solicit unique musical responses from the band as they perform at each of these unusual venues. To this point, Jaz's original working title for _HFtBoH_ was "War Zones".

With an album like this and after more than twenty-five years, there is one thing for sure: Killing Joke never was and never will be a laughing matter.


(article published 7/4/2006)

7/27/2003 X Hoose 8.5 Killing Joke - Killing Joke
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