A superb debut made better by reissuing
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 08/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"illing Joke's 1980 eponymous debut (not to be confused with their eponymous 2003 album) is a startling debut, in many ways sounding like it wasn't recorded a quarter century ago, but rather yesterday. The band's style joined tribal and dub rhythms with post punk guitars and suitably apocalyptic lyrics. The band (Jaz Coleman- vocals, keys, Geordie Walker- guitar, Youth- bass, Paul Ferguson- drums, vocals) produced a dazzling debut with some of their best and most memorable songs.
In many ways, its obvious how far ahead of their time they were, whether it be the proto-alternative drudging pace of "Requiem", the highly danceable "Wardance", or the funky "Change", the music on this album is far beyond what their contemporaries were doing. Certainly, it set the groundwork for several styles in the future-- so much so that Killing Joke has been classified as punk or goth or new wave or alternative or industrial or just simply post-punk. The truth is, these are all accurate, the band cover s a ton of ground here and set the stage for things to come. Yet the album maintains a unified sound throughout, Geordie's guitars maintain a sludging feel even when the pieces are more dance-oriented and Coleman paints a lyrical picture of coming chaos and apocalyptic visions (a theme largely found in the early KJ albums). This does unfortunately lead to uneven quality on the album, some tracks are largely disposable ("Tomorrow's World", "Bloodsport", "S.O.36"), but the remainder of the record is superb and the power of it more than makes up for some less inspired tracks.
This reissue is well worth the investment for fans and others, excluding everything else the sonic upgrade makes the album sound fresh and exciting-- the music is more in your face and not hidden below poor CD transfer. Listening to "The Wait", the level of detail alone on this that I had never heard is nothing short of astounding. This also includes several bonus tracks, two mixes of "Change" (the one included on the original CD release and a disposable dub mix), the "Requiem" single mix, and rough mixes for "Primitive" and "Bloodsport" that have more value from a curiosity standpoint than a critical one. The album's artwork has also been expanded by the artist and includes several pages of photographs of the band in the early days. the point is, this is well worth the investment for fans of the band.
I've always felt this album's followup ("what's this for...!") was a far more even effort, but the better material here is powerful and resonsant, moreso than the material on the followup. Highly recommended."
The missing link i had been searching for
Ryan Lovejoy | 07/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Killing Joke is a unique band for sure. I have been a long time punk fan and I had recently been getting into a lot of industrial bands as well, but i had always wondered why the two genres were never mixed together. this album bridges that gap in between punk rock and industrial greatly. it contains everything from punk, robot sounding vocals, slower paced indie material, and heavy metal. picture the band Ministry if you want a comparison to something. i would recommend this cd very highly. it will get a lot of play. trust me."