Search - Killing Joke :: Democracy

Killing Joke
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock, Metal
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

When Killing Joke released their self-titled debut in 1980, it was a milestone in the post-punk era. Not only was it darker, uglier, and dramatically different from just about any other music emanating from the U.K. at the...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Killing Joke
Title: Democracy
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Volcano
Release Date: 4/16/1996
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock, Metal
Styles: Hardcore & Punk, New Wave & Post-Punk, Dance Pop, Alternative Metal
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 614223112725

When Killing Joke released their self-titled debut in 1980, it was a milestone in the post-punk era. Not only was it darker, uglier, and dramatically different from just about any other music emanating from the U.K. at the time, but it managed to strike a chord with both Mohawks and long hairs. Perhaps inadvertently Killing Joke created one of the first conduits for punks and metal heads to merge. Bands as diverse as Metallica and Alcohol Funnycar have covered killing Joke's songs. Killing Joke have never thought twice about tweaking their sound. From the minimal-sounding dance hit "Eighties" to the heavy throb of their last record, Pandemonium, they were always searching for new means of expression. There were certain elements that were constant--including Jaz Coleman' s hoarse, shouted vocals and Geordie's abrasive guitar--but only their first two records are really very similar. Their latest release is, in fact, a step away from the heaviness of Pandemonium and brings to mind some of their more melodic work of the mid-to-late '80s. There is still plenty of venom in this tireless band, though, particularly in tracks like "Savage Freedom," "Democracy," and "Another Bloody Election." --Adem Tepedelen

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CD Reviews

And now for something completely different....
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 04/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In the wake of the success of "Pandemonium", Killing Joke (still vocalist Jaz Coleman, guitarist Geordie, and bassist Youth) created something wholly different-- after the Middle Eastern-tinged industrial metal of their last album, the band produced an album in a unique style-- texture-oriented guitars (even acoustic guitars!), crisp bass, and varied vocals. The result has proven wildly unpopular with fans, but perhaps unfairly so. Its experimental, and it misses sometimes, but its certainly an interesting record.

Lyrically, this is a continuation of themes for the band, but rather than being about the impending collapse, it is about the collapse and the reaction. Its difficult I think to get into lyrically because it paints a picture of finding a new home, and lacks a lot of the lyrical venom that previous records had-- "Savage Freedom" being the exception. Its also got a bit of a personal spin to it, confessional lyrics ("Prozac People", "Absent Friends"), and its somewhat of a bitter record, belief that democracy has failed.

The use of acoustic guitars is most apparent on the title track and "Lanterns"-- the former is largely acoustic guitars mixed with heavy tribal bass and drums, the latter is unusual, even for Killing Joke-- another reviewer described it as anthemic, but as a criticism. I'd use the same term as a compliment-- the piece is brilliant, but unlike virtually all other Killing Joke material, its full of optimism. The most important part about these two though is that they're largely designed to evoke a different mood than the usual Killing Joke piece, this isn't about anger or sarcasm (or at least not the extent that other albums are), but remorse and moving on-- this theme comes back a number of times in the future as well on the record to great effect ("Pilgrimage", "Medicine Wheel", "Absent Friends"). Of course, this IS a Killing Joke record, and there's some good proto-industrial slabs here ("Savage Freedom", "Aeon").

My point is, this is a great record, its just really different from the rest of the band's catalog-- given the popularity of the last two records, its no suprise the reaction this one got. But its a unique and interesting record in its own right."
Beautiful and bitter, yet hard-hitting music
Peter Kamnev | Moscow, Russia | 01/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I strongly disagree with those fans that describe Democracy as a weak album. In fact, it makes for the most enjoyable listening, although surely not as the most revolutionary or influential. It is not as unlistenable to as What's THIS for...! or meaningless rage as their latest (it is the probably only time one can agree with the Rolling Stone review!). The vocal shifts are very in place here, as are surrounding musical landscapes, beautiful and bitter, and it's not as repetitious as their usual material. Acoustic guitar is also very good for variety, and will all the diehard fans ever learn that variety is no "selling out"!"