Killing Joke
Killing Joke


4.0
excellent

Review

by DariusBlue USER (7 Reviews)
October 9th, 2007 | 41 replies | 13,080 views


Release Date: 1980 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A post-punk masterpiece of tribal funk-rock and grinding heavy metal with suitably doom-mongering lyrics and splenetic vocals.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Produced by Killing Joke
UK chart: 39
US chart: Unreleased in USA

AAAAARRRGGGHHHH! IT'S THE APOCALYPSE AND WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!!!

*ahem*

Sorry about that but I couldn't help it after three solid hours of listening to Killing Joke [1980].

The debut album by Notting Hill band Killing Joke is a key album in the rise of thrash, funk and industrial based metal music. Jaz Coleman and his bandmates crossed punk rock with Black Sabbath for a nihilistic, bludgeoning but inspired and exciting noise and of their early albums, this is their best. The songs describe scenes of violence, war, alienation and death. And so would you be if the headlines featured Thatcher, the Cold War and riots.

The original album comprises of eight tracks. The three key songs are the opening grind Requiem, famously covered by Foo Fighters, the anthemic The Wait, famously covered by Metallica and the tribalistic Wardance, famously covered by...umm...wait, it'll come to me.

Requiem opens with air raid siren-like bass from Youth, then a heavy-but-tuneful guitar riff, then a funeral march-tempo drum pound building up to Jaz Coleman's voice, authorital, booming, fearful and repulsed as he shouts "Man watching video, the bomb keeps on ticking. He doesn't know why, he's just cattle for slaughter." with meticulous enunciation and painstaking coherence. Coleman howls in horror "argh!" just before the pummeling chorus of "RE-QUI-EM" and the drums roll back into the verse. It's sludgy, circular but funky and catchy, a terrific opener, but it gets better.

The Wait is the most well-known Killing Joke song, the dissonant noise at the beginning followed by a choppy funk riff and two-thump, forboding drum, Coleman's voice is higher and distinctly London as he decribes the horrors he sees before the chorus, a just-audible holler of realisation and defiance of "THE WAIT!" complete with hissing high-hat like a spit of venom at those about to be nuked.

Wardance begins with a distorted wheezing and coughing, the song bursts into life with a varispeed mix into a crunching, circular riff and time-bomb synth triplet. A staccato riff sets up more distorted voices, this time a disgusted glance at the malevolence and jingoism of the British male, ("This is music to march to, to a war dance") before the entire band chant in unision "A WARDANCE". Coleman recognises that "you got something nasty in your mind, trying to get out, to a war dance" before warning "Look out for a nationalist command". The music shudders to a halt, complete with Wheel Of Fortune-like drum and guitar screech.

The three songs are key in understanding Killing Joke's influence and the direction of the band themselves. Requiem made industrial, a previously hideously misanthropic and pointless sub-genre economically viable for future metal bands taking their cue from it and set up Killing Joke's themes for the next quarter of a century. The Wait gave heavy rock bands a chance to incorporate funk in their music without imitating funk and gave a clue to the stadium-goth anthems Killing Joke would make on post-Youth albums Fire Dances and Night Time. Wardance is the flipside of shoutalong working class OI! music and made use of distortion and tribal rhythms, opening a door for the synthetic metal of future dance producers and percussion-heavy drums for the more primitive (in a good way) sounds of metal.

The rest of the album stands up well, Tomorrow's World is a desolate soundscape complete with eerie and sparse synth drops and pounding drums, the guitar thrashes and after a minute Coleman howls a formless lament of being called up to army service, "carry us, face the music, called up for your country, never, no I won't go". The synth bloops and ragged guitar riff leap out of the dark before the droning finish. Bloodsport is a instrumental funk-metal thrash complete with sweeping percussion and boomerang synth lines to recreate the Coliseum orgy of slaughter from ancient times. The ending, a "wooo!" from Coleman and cheering and whooping from a crowd like a victory celebration with horrible drone that literally dies before setting up The Wait. Complications is a song more in common with the three key tracks above than the previous doom-laden songs, Coleman's voice returns to high-register, London-accented yelp of despair as he describes a weird occult-like descent-into-madness tale. It's the shortest song on the album and probably the most accessible with the coherent lyrics and excellent vocal delivery with the band playing more funk-based hard rock. $0.36 is an experimental dirge (nearly seven minutes) over some snippets of a bloke speaking German and Coleman's indecipherable lyrics, but they're deep in the mix anyway. Primitive has an excellent drum/bass intro, the sweeping synth and chainsaw guitar come in at the right time and Coleman sings about the temptation/righteousness tangle with surprising lyrical insight despite the weird quasi-marching grunts being more disturbing than they should be. Even Goths get the urges.

Killing Joke 1980 was re-issued in 2005 with five bonus tracks, rough mixes of Primitive and Bloodsport and the single mix of Requiem are fine, but the gem is early single Change. Simply the best disco-metal song ever, the lyrics are a wake-up call to Go For It!! before it's too late and react against all the evil around you.

It's empowering stuff. The choppy rhythm, the prowling guitar music and awesome pound of the drums before the chorus are excellent backing for Coleman's army drill sergeant voice shouting "You're waiting!" and sarcastic laughter. And you can dance to it! There's even a dub version for good measure.

If you like Metallica, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Ministry or Sepultura, to name the most obviously influenced, you'll find plenty to - er - "enjoy" on this album, finally complete.

Killing Joke 1980 is the best album made in fear of the Cold War because of its unflinching misanthropy, genuine fear and innovative sound. The ironic thing is the bomb didn't actually drop and if you take a look at the chart positions you'll see it was unreleased in the USA. That's a Killing Joke alright.

Key tracks

Change
The Wait
Wardance
Requiem
Tomorrow's World



Recent reviews by this author
Wire Chairs MissingINXS Kick
Ramones Too Tough to DieDavid Bowie Scary Monsters
The Rolling Stones Some GirlsMorrissey Bona Drag
user ratings (179)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
samthebassman
October 9th 2007



2164 Comments


I need this, I love their other s/t album...

Meatplow
October 10th 2007



5524 Comments


Interesting stuff, i might have to investigate this group. I do remember having a few mp3s a long time ago.

Willie
Moderator
October 10th 2007



15876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The album is just called "Killing Joke" not "1980". Also, you should add the art work to it if you're going to take the time to review it.

Link to the album art:

http://www.killingjoke.com/images/disco/album/killingjoke_small.jpgThis Message Edited On 10.10.07

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

DariusBlue
October 10th 2007



11 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes, I know the album is titled "Killing Joke", I didn't add the album so I called it by the name given on the website and besides that's what they get for being so awkward as to have two self-titled albums.

I'd add the album art gladly if I knew how.

Kaleid
October 10th 2007



710 Comments


Go to "My Profile", then "Edit My Reviews". Click this album and on the next page you'll see there's an Upload album image box. Once you've saved the picture to your computer, click 'Browse' and upload it from your computerThis Message Edited On 10.10.07

Willie
Moderator
October 10th 2007



15876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yes, I know the album is titled "Killing Joke", I didn't add the album so I called it by the name given on the website and besides that's what they get for being so awkward as to have two self-titled albums.
You can change the title the same way you added the artwork... My Profile > Edit My Reviews > then click this album, and the album name should be something you can adjust... although I see your point about the two self-titled albums... whatever, just for future reference I guess if you ever want to fix an album title you didn't add but you did review.This Message Edited On 10.10.07

burton.and.gas
October 15th 2007



641 Comments


brilliant review, except i'm fairly sure jaz coleman is manchester-accented not london-accented. I've only heard a few tracks from this, but they are all killer, I love KJ.

science4
May 11th 2008



18 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Definately London.
Quite fun and intense at the same time, though.

jefflebowski
September 25th 2011



7379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

didn't Jaz study at the royal college of music for a while, or something to that effect?

Digging: Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma

Goatlord
October 10th 2011



405 Comments


I know he does composing work outside of Killing Joke. And yes, this album is a classic, though their finest moment is What's This For? in my opinion.

jamepic699
November 8th 2011



10 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

one of the greatest albums EVER made! learn from the underground kings that influenced so many bands for decades to come! you can thank these guys for Nirvana, mofo.

KILL
December 25th 2011



70573 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so good

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

KILL
December 27th 2011



70573 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A WAR DANCE

KILL
January 18th 2012



70573 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

rules

fsharptrit0ne
January 18th 2012



4814 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

only met one other person in rl who knew this album, wtf

KILL
January 18th 2012



70573 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea people are gay

fsharptrit0ne
January 18th 2012



4814 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea its all about veil of maya and mephis may fire

KILL
January 18th 2012



70573 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

war dance all over their faces

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
February 4th 2012



1844 Comments


This was certainly a significant album within killing joke's career, as it set the standard for one of the most insane yet talented band's in british history. This album is just that good.

Digging: Black Anvil - Hail Death

KILL
February 4th 2012



70573 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy