Killing Joke - _Killing Joke_
(Invisible, 2003)
by: Xander Hoose (8.5 out of 10)
Granted, I've never been a connoisseur of Killing Joke. I've tried to listen to a couple of their more 'famous' albums, but the only thing that stuck with me was their excellent hit-song "Love Like Blood". So when I received this promo, I was quite surprised about the course that the reunited Killing Joke (their last album is from 1996) have taken. If you're looking for poppy elements, there are quite few of those on _Killing Joke_ -- the band have reverted back to playing cold, mechanical industrial music with a very modern production. No poppy vocals here either; instead you find raw, deep vocals that at times come close to a death metal grunt. The whole album is pretty much recorded in mid- and up-tempo, the bass and guitar sound is very clinical and Dave Grohl's drumming is accurate and very static, perfectly adding to the atmosphere. The closest reference I can give to _Killing Joke_ is Morgoth's swansong _Feel Sorry for the Fanatic_. More than once am I reminded of songs from that album, except that Killing Joke is taking a less complicated path in songwriting -- I wouldn't say the songs are as one-dimensional as those by Rammstein, but they're definitely in-between the two. Even though there aren't any songs on this album that are sub-par, I'd like to name the fast-paced "Asteroid", the melancholic "Blood on Your Hands" and the almost black metal-ish combo of "Dark Forces" and "The House That Pain Built" as my favourites. Killing Joke 2003 have proven to be extremely adept and versatile in capturing the zeitgeist with their music. Hopefully this album will be picked up by the media as well as the public; it's well deserved.


(article published 27/7/2003)

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