Killing Joke

It’s been 3 years in coming but Killing Joke are back with their latest LP, and the wait has been worthwhile. Pylon opens powerfully with “Autonomous Zone” – crunchy guitars, powerful hitting and that direct vocal delivery from Jaz. It’s the perfect opener and even at 6 minutes long there’s no let-up, it just keeps on delivering. There’s even some subtle sampling here and there. It ends almost as it begins with a sample edit and leave’s you wanting more. “Dawn of The Hive” begins with some wholesome drumming and a bludgeoning guitar. Jaz’s vocals then appear over the top giving an altogether dark, brooding feel of menace. Said vocal is cleverly layered throughout and there’s another great sample in the middle. The shimmering guitars are vying for space against the sampling, but this is a huge song just made for the live arena.

“New Cold War” has a much clearer vocal and harks back to their early material. A clangy guitar part is the main feature here, although Jaz’s trademark strident vocal is also prominent. It explodes into a growl in the chorus. I’m reminded briefly of ‘Love Like Blood’ in the guitars, but there’s enough uniqueness for it to be taken on its own merit. “Euphoria” has a clean, 80’s sound in the guitars and again; the vocals are clear and audible. The shortest song on here and most accessible, it has “MTV Rotation” written all over it. For this reviewer it would be my choice as a single. The clangy guitars evoke memories of mid 80’s “Post/Punk” at its finest – this song would transport those of us of a certain age back to that era.

“New Jerusalem” takes a good 20 seconds before coming to life. The scratchy guitars and cymbal-led drums slowly build the song until the vocal kicks in with a howl. The song ignites briefly in the chorus before settling back down. It has that whole cinematic, film score feel to it as Jaz once again howls the chorus. “War On Freedom” is another nod to the past. The brooding bass sits in the background behind the clangy guitars. Jaz passionately howls the chorus throughout. I’m reminded of the Banshees which is no bad thing – this is the standout cut on this collection and you just wanna put it on repeat!

Killing Joke

“Big Buzz” begins with thumping drums and those now familiar chords. It’s a simple song that allows the vocal to shine. Not breaking any new ground lyrically it has a chorus that is catchy if nothing else, that one would find themselves singing along to live. The guitars however, remind me of their mid-80’s period, while the drums are powerful throughout. “Delete” begins powerfully with “fuzzy” guitars and fierce hitting. The direct vocal fits perfectly on this faster song. It appears to get heavier in the middle with a well-placed sample giving it extra bite.

“I Am The Virus” is probably the most potent song on here. There’s no let-up and the vocals attest to this. Jaz’s howls in the chorus are delivered with spite and anger. Fast-paced and chilling in its delivery I feel it could easily have been shorter. ‘Into The Unknown’ has a rat-a-tat drum intro behind huge, swirling guitars. Jaz’s vocals on this track are unusual to say the least. The bass is the overriding feature here, but it’s the perfect LP closer.

Killing Joke have gloriously returned with an album steeped in their past, but with enough originality to keep the purists happy. As someone who hasn’t ventured hugely into their back catalogue I will now amend that!

Autonomous Zone
Dawn Of The Hive
New Cold War
New Jerusalem
War On Freedom
Big Buzz
I Am The Virus
Into The Unknown


Review by Ross A. Ferrone.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to MySpace