Killing Joke
Pylon


3.5
great

Review

by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (274 Reviews)
October 28th, 2015 | 35 replies


Release Date: 10/23/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Killing Joke return with a new album which, whilst lighter and more accessible than its more aggressive predecessors, still represents the band's charming work ethic.

Killing Joke have now got to the point in their career where the reputation of being a "cult" band precedes them more often than not. Sure, their work in the 80s was mainstream gold and the vast majority of New Wave purists continually refer to the likes of Night Time or Brighter than a Thousand Suns regarding what makes a legendary underground 80s record, but since the dawn of the new millennium Killing Joke have scrapped all that. It all started with the violently heavy second self-titled effort in 2003, and Jaz Coleman's credibility as a preacher to the apocalyptic masses has been strengthened to match the charismatic nature of some of the greatest frontmen in rock bands, past and present. This year sees the release of 16th record Pylon, the release date being questionably close to Halloween. Of course, Pylon has no ties whatsoever to Halloween, but the album turns out to be just as menacing and virulent as that particular seasonal holiday.

Pylon, for want of a better superlative, is gentler than its predecessors. What do I mean by this" Well, it's in all aspects of the musicianship and songwriting really. Coleman doesn't sound so rough any more (like in 2006's Hosannas...), Geordie's guitar work feels more refined, and the industrial elements largely inherent in previous records here seem to have been more lenient in the production process. There's proof of this "gentler" nature from the very start. "Autonomous Zone" and "Dawn of the Hive", whilst still being relatively speedy and epic in all the right ways, give the listener a nice "relaxed" feeling as the almost lush production brings all instruments and sounds to the forefront-closer to heaven, if you will. Of course, guitar work is still more or less heavy in these songs-more so in "Dawn of the Hive" than in the album opener-but it feels like the gritty, raw-edged performance of yore has been scrapped in favour of a cleaner approach. This even affects Coleman's vocal delivery, though not completely thanks to the rough ride that is "I am the Virus". Coleman still brings about his own personality and charismatic energy to the proverbial post-apocalyptic altar, and that's essentially the one thing keeping Pylon from falling under the radar. The excitement of more progressive songs such as "New Cold War" and "New Jerusalem" maintains the band's incredulous instrumental performance, but more often than not this is because you get the strong impression Jaz Coleman was dancing around the studio rather than shouting frantically into the microphone.

On the flip side, Pylon isn't as memorable or effective as Killing Joke's better 21st Century releases. That's the reality of it all. Whilst some songs here could well be ideal for the band's live performances ("Euphoria", "Delete", "I am the Virus"), the slower songs which often surpass the 6-minute mark turn out to be lacklustre if the listener isn't in the mood for post-apocalyptic dance beats. Let's explore. "Big Buzz" fails to reach its potential in amounting to a climactic ending-something which the likes of "Dawn of the Hive" actually excel at in general-and just when you think the main riff will change its direction for a more upbeat pace, it simply doesn't. And this affects the larger part of the album, though to a lesser extent in some cases ("Autonomous Zone" redeems itself thanks to an injection of menacing heaviness and "New Cold War" has melodic flourishes to fling us all into an enigmatic daydream). You see, the best songs here are really those that are obviously accessible and lively from the very start. In songs like "Euphoria" or "Delete", there is no build-up or messing around to get to a certain point. The haunting riffs and thunderous drum beats are there from the moment you press play. Perhaps if the longer songs had that songwriting ethic too, the album would feel a little more consistent.

That said, Pylon simply represents the power of Killing Joke's unique charm and charismatic approach to both studio and live performances. It is a representation that Coleman and co. can inflict post-apocalyptic menace onto the unsuspecting listeners whilst still giving the impression they're simply having a damn good time. Whether or not you want to join the cult is up to you, but Killing Joke's latest album won't change opinions. Matter of fact, it will either draw the fans even closer towards the slowly burning star, or repel the haters ever further to their own grave.



Recent reviews by this author
The Algorithm Compiler Optimization TechniquesA Forest of Stars Grave Mounds and Grave Mistakes
Siege of Power Warning BlastAborted TerrorVision
The Black Queen Infinite GamesDeicide Overtures of Blasphemy
user ratings (79)
Chart.
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
October 28th 2015


2568 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

c/c welcome as always.



It feels both weird and acceptable to be reviewing this so close to Halloween. Oh well. On a side note, I'm absolutely gutted I won't be able to see the band playing in my local city tonight (sad face ensues).

Digging: Evoken - Hypnagogia

EvoHavok
October 28th 2015


7652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent review, Robert! I view the album similarly in many aspects.

NeroCorleone80
October 28th 2015


34446 Comments


I like their early post-punk phase the most but props for reviewing this, band is so underrated here.

Digging: Various Artists (L.I.E.S) - Music for Shut-Ins

EvoHavok
October 29th 2015


7652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like the 90's-present post-punk/industrial sound the most, but indeed, band is so underrated here [3].

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
October 29th 2015


2568 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Band is so underrated here [4].

SowingSeason
Moderator
October 29th 2015


28354 Comments


Nice. Loved their last two albums. Can't wait to get into this one as well.

Digging: Julia Holter - Aviary

Flugmorph
November 10th 2015


19638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Always great to see a new album from a band you just starting to appreciate

Digging: The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

Flugmorph
December 6th 2015


19638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this has grown on me quite much

EvoHavok
December 6th 2015


7652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fav track from it?

Flugmorph
December 6th 2015


19638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

first 5 tracks are all amazing honestly, but if i had to pick probably dawn of the hive

EvoHavok
December 6th 2015


7652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's also mine, in fact.

Flugmorph
December 6th 2015


19638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah its great. just so driving

Flugmorph
January 7th 2016


19638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sadly i did not care for their first three studio releases when I listened yesterday. There where a few grandiose moments on selftitled debut tho

NeroCorleone80
January 7th 2016


34446 Comments


First two are their best

EvoHavok
January 7th 2016


7652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nah, but they're important and I think they'll grow on you, Flug.

NeroCorleone80
January 7th 2016


34446 Comments


AND THE TENSION BUILDS

RunOfTheMill
January 13th 2016


3816 Comments


gotta check more from these guys, I've got Night Time and their S/T, any recs? They seem to have a lot of good albums at different times in their career.

NeroCorleone80
January 13th 2016


34446 Comments


Whats This For is my fave

EvoHavok
January 13th 2016


7652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That, Extremities, Pandemonium, second s/t, Absolute Dissent, MMXII. Can't go wrong with anything from 90's onwards, tbh.

Flugmorph
January 20th 2016


19638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

http://www.teamrock.com/news/2016-01-19/killing-joke-premiere-euphoria-video







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





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 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy