Killing Joke
Absolute Dissent


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
November 23rd, 2010 | 93 replies | 14,767 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Killing Joke keeps on chugging with their fourteenth studio album – one that should stand among their greatest achievements to date.

For the first time since 1982, Killing Joke has returned to its original lineup. Such long absences usually wreak havoc on a band’s chemistry, often causing them to lose whatever tight sound they once bestowed upon the world. Jaz Coleman, the band’s renowned vocalist, is now 50 years old. By that age a singer has usually lost the power and overall range required to light a fire in the hearts of fans. With 2010’s Absolute Dissent, you can throw away any preconceived notions concerning where Killing Joke should be; here Coleman sounds as savage and determined as ever, and the rest of the band backs him up with convincing performances that prove Killing Joke’s vitality and compel listeners to join in the apocalyptic upheaval that is Absolute Dissent.

The band’s fourteenth studio album is by no means a tired effort – and that becomes immediately clear when the title-track/opening track blasts through the speakers with a sludgy, static-heavy energy. The guitar riffs of Kevin “Geordie” Walker slice through the air like an axe through wet wood; forceful and dead-on but with relative ease. Paul Ferguson pounds away on the drums like a demented madman, and although Glover’s bass is subtle, “Absolute Dissent” has already proven something: Killing Joke is a machine that will keep on chugging, no matter how many albums the band has already composed or how many they will continue to release in the future. The title track almost seems like a statement of “we are here, and there isn’t one mother ***ing thing anyone can say or do about it.” And that is just how any post-punk/industrial album should start; abrasive, in-your-face, and unrelenting.

Fortunately, Killing Joke far from exhaust themselves on the opener. Starting with the apocalypse-driven “The Great Cull”, in which Coleman belts out thin the heard with startling conviction, Absolute Dissent only gathers momentum. The meaning behind each song contributes to the album’s sense of urgency nearly as much as the musical components, with lyrical topics revolving around the end of the world, conspiracy theories, and paranoia. Killing Joke delivers some of their best and most disturbing lines to date, such as “The Great Cull” pondering a government-regulated sick population: “Develop virus market cure – exploit the panic / Contaminate by guile and stealth – a quick strum of the harp / Depopulate initiate – pharmaceutical companies / All fall down, all fall down, Codex Alimentarius / Thin the herd!” The bone-chilling effectiveness of Coleman’s coarse screams and raspy vocals elevate the emotional impact that these songs can have on the listener. Absolute Dissent continues in the same vein throughout, with “Fresh Fever from the Skies” elaborating on a personal story of a potential UFO sighting, and “Depthcharge” warning of the impending environmental ruin sure to sweep across the corners of Earth.

Absolute Dissent seems to culminate with the heaviest track on the album, “This World Hell.” The song is drenched in industrial metal influences, with chunky, discontinuous guitar riffs in the introduction and screams from Coleman that would give the listener a sore throat just to think about. The style seems to fuse the distortion and absolute brutality of Nine Inch Nails with the start-and-stop, soft-to-loud intrigue of a song like “No Worlds/No Thoughts” by Swans. The song was also recorded all in one take, giving it more of an intimate live feel than any of the other tracks on the record. Although the album doesn’t necessarily match the intensity of “This World Hell” anywhere afterwards, there are still plenty of notable moments that ensure Absolute Dissent is a consistent, whole work. For instance, the atmospheric introduction to the closing track “Ghosts of Ladbroke Grove” provides a welcome contrast to the rest of the album’s sheer power and heaviness. There aren’t many calm moments on this record, but the few ones to be found act as an oasis in an otherwise relentless desert of post punk and industrial metal.

As a whole, Absolute Dissent is a surprisingly invigorated album from Killing Joke. That isn’t to say this is a comeback album, though, because they never really slowed down to begin with. This is just Killing Joke doing what they do best: angry, cynical, anti-establishment assaults that breathe new life into one’s perception of his place in a growingly corrupted world. On Absolute Dissent, Killing Joke puts all of these qualities on display, and perhaps better than they ever have before.



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user ratings (108)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
holyfolk (4)
Welcome to the new genre of industrimetal - it's gone electro...


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2010



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

http://music.aol.com/new-releases-full-cds/#/12

album stream.

Digging: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus

porch
November 23rd 2010



8451 Comments


yeah this is pretty good but i prefer the previous two albums

this world hell is one of the worst songs they've written in years


SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2010



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

what didn't you like about it?

pizzamachine
November 23rd 2010



12571 Comments


I'm glad you reviewed this! Perhaps someday I'll review Killing Joke's self-titled album.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2010



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks pizzamachine, i don't usually review stuff like this but if i could review electronica then i can review anything.

and you should, i'd enjoy reading that

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2010



30873 Comments


Haha

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2010



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

now i know how to get deviant to post in my review threads: just mention electronica

DoubtGin
November 23rd 2010



6748 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

albums so good; havent listened to anything else by them so where should I start

porch
November 23rd 2010



8451 Comments


what didn't you like about it?


it's just one chord over and over again and then an awful chorus, not exactly inspired songwriting. that's my main problem with this album, some of the songs sound a bit underwritten

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2010



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fair enough; i was just blown away by its sheer power (esp. vocally) considering the dude is 50 yrs old i dunno i wish i could scream like that right now

porch
November 23rd 2010



8451 Comments


yeah i love his voice

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2010



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

me too, so soothing ; )

greg84
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2010



7315 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like this band and will give this album a spin or two for sure. Great review!

Digging: Dog Fashion Disco - Sweet Nothings

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2010



30873 Comments


Or if you need artwork ;)

Nice work btw

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2010



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks greg, let me know what you think!



SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2010



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh and yeah deviant you are the artwork man around here : )

did you ever get to read my review of The Glass' new album? I know it probably wasn;t a stellar electronic review seeing as it was my first, but I'd be interested in knowing what you thought

somberlain
November 23rd 2010



2121 Comments


damn Sowing you're a reviewing machine!
you've left me far behind
pos'd

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2010



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks dude, yeah i've been reviewing a lot lately i remember when you were like 20 ahead of me

somberlain
November 23rd 2010



2121 Comments


I remember when I wanted to STAY ahead of you but looks like that's not gonna happen

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2010



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's never too late; i just want to see ONE more somberlain review haha then ill start pestering you for more



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