In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “I might not be able to nail down what they are, but I do know I liked it. I really, really like it.”
What kind of band is Killing Joke? I had absolutely no idea, but their name is monumentally cool. Which is why I listened to Killing Joke, and their monumentally coolly titled album, Killing Joke.
A metronomic, wasteland beat drives relentlessly on, a beyond distorted guitar begins to roar in the distance, dramatic, over serious, but just the perfect amount of over serious vocals deliver palpable portent, and Killing Joke announces its arrival auspiciously with the intense and propulsive Requiem. But they get a little more to the point with the more traditional rock feel of Wardance. Well, traditional until the Dalek vocals kick in.
With grinding guitars that sound like a robotic assembly line started a band, supported by some of the cheesiest 80s pop sounds you ever did hear, Bloodsport adds a polish to the dystopian sound that wove its way through the previous songs. And the pop take on dystopia dynamic works surprisingly well. But it sounds like a tea party compared to the darkness of The Wait. I never knew the mind 80s was capable of this kind industrial weight.
But Killing Joke show that they’re not scared to sand down some of their rough edge and anger to make something a little more pleasing to pop ears with the very radio friendly Complications. Before it’s back to disorientating beats, militaristic samples and a general feeling of being slightly put off, in the best, rewardingly challenging way, with S.O.36.
Appropriately named Change, Killing Joke’s last song mixes things up the most, with a pumping energy the rest of the album lacks. But it doesn’t suffer for it, because it almost feels like the rest of the record has been building to this moment. I’m not sure what kind of band Killing Joke is. You could tell me they were punk, post punk, new wave, early industrial, experimental or anywhere in between all of those. But while I might not be able to nail down what they are, I do know I liked it. I really, really like it.