Much needed upgrade.
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 08/09/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Killing Joke's third album, 1982's "Revelations" is a pretty drastic departure-- working for the first time with an outside producer, Conny Plank, the is a cleaner sound-- more separation between the instruments rather than the somewhat muddy sound of the previous records-- this is further accentuated by a more metallic sound in the guitar.
The album maintains the sort of edgy apocalyptic vision of previous records, but Coleman's lyrics have moved into a somewhat ranting direction-- sometimes it succeeds ("We Have Joy"), but more often than not, it fails to sustain interest ("The Pandys Are Coming", "Chapter III" or the awful "Dregs"). And with the production uniform and consistent, and the album consisting largely of similar tempo and feel among the numbers, plus Coleman experimenting with his new singing style (he'd get it down right in a couple albums), the material really doesn't hold together well.
Its got its moments-- the album opens decent enough with "Empire Song" being one of the real highlights, and "Chop-Chop" barring annoying vocal is really amongst the most varied of early Killing Joke material, but beyond that, the album generally fails to sustain my interest.
The remastered release features much improved sound-- it's quite a bit more in your face while maintaining a claustrophobic feel. The reissue is also augmented by one bonus track, an alternate mix of "We Have Joy"-- I haven't done a side-by-side comparison, but I'm fairly certain this is the same mix included on "For Beginners", it's not particularly exciting either way and it doesn't sound nearly as nice as the rest of the record. The artwork has been expanded by Mike Coles (who did most of the original Killing Joke artwork but not this one) and includes the lyrics. It really is quite attractive looking on the inside of the booklet, and it definitely is an improvement over the previous issue's art.
It could be I'd think higher of this album outside of the context of the first two records, but it just doesn't hold up to them-- I'd recommend checking them out instead-- 1980's "Killing Joke" or 1981's "what's THIS for...!"."
Their Most Interesting, Exotic Record. For Adults.
ThrEaD NUGENT | Newport Beach, CA United States | 11/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The sleeve art says it all. Embroidered name on a rich blue satin field. KJ at this point knew they acheived a new level of 'art.' I bought this record in 1984 and have listened to it ever since. It is a staple so to speak. KJ's 3rd record is brilliant; a more dark, tribal, and sophisticated release than the previous 2 records (which I love as well). I understand why people can't get into this one as this takes time and patience to sink in....Most people want instant musical gratification so if you are THAT person skip Revelations. W/ that said the material on Revelations is heavy, angry, medieval, and describes an insane (cold war) world on the verge of apocalypse. The Hum's droning phased/reverb riff sets the mood of the record. Empire Song drives the record and band into new heights. Conrad Plank's production is perfect for KJ. He brought out what would become a trademark sound for many records to come. We Have Joy is a manic potshot at the West....Chop Chop, one of the singles released from Revelations is strangely catchy...The Pandys are Coming is a brilliant but creepy and unsettling song. I picture this song as their 'trumpets' of impending doom, the armies of evil are coming and cannot be stopped. Great imagery...heavy stuff. Have a Nice Day is another driving song w/ Paul's groovy tribal drums.....Too bad Sun Goes Down, Brilliant and Birds of a Feather weren't added....I played those singles to death growing up......The record ends the Dregs, intense, urgent music over which Jaz intentionally rants, raves, coughs, and stumbles through meaningless lyrics....lost on many listeners.....Dregs closes the record as an unhappy ending to a movie....Leaving the listener stunned...absolutley effective....not a bluff....Overall this record/remaster is a gem, some slow moments but by the time they arrive one is so taken by the lyrics/content/message that it all fits...The remastered sound is amazing. As a hardcore fan for 21 years this is one of my faves by KJ. Definitely a record explore w/ headphones, the lyric book and a glass of wine.....essential."
Brilliant guitar sound
Scooterjohn | California | 09/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having a younger sister that worked for Tower records at the time, I was already familiar with KG when this one was released. "The Hum": what can I say? The dark and grinding guitar sound is fantastic, and with "Empire Song" and "We Have Joy" following...they covered the price of admission right there. I'm not too keen on "The Pandies Are Coming", but this album could create hours of discussion on guitar tones alone.
As luck would have it, I caught the tour for this album...and rarely has any band been so mesmerizing in a live setting. I can recall Geordie never looking down at his guitar, and telling a bloke that wanted to "slam dance" with me "Sorry, I don't want to miss any of what this guitar playing is doing".
I just ordered the DVD...I'm hopeful, even without "The Hum" included."