Album: Killing Joke

Killing Joke, Zuma
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The Independent Culture

One (American) rock encyclopaedia describes Killing Joke as "practitioners of intellectual dance-thrash-rock with a penchant for apocalypse", which roughly translates into English as "noisy Goth doom-merchants". Little, it seems, has changed on this comeback album, a barrage of fierce riffing and pummelling drums (by Dave Grohl) that finds Jaz Coleman as eagerly pessimistic as ever, contemplating "Ezekiel's chariots streak[ing] across the skies" and growling out splenetic rants against - well, what have you got? Organised religion, GM crops, neo-colonial adventurism, corporate despoiling of the environment... In "Implant", he offers a furious rejection of mandatory ID implants - which as far as I understand, not even David Blunkett is publicly advocating as government policy. But still, one takes the point: Blunkett probably muses fondly on the possibility every now and then. Indeed, the odd thing about this new Killing Joke is the absurdly hyper-melodramatic delivery of opinions that, for all their revolutionary ardour, now seem merely commonplace complaints. But maybe Coleman just can't stop being a downer: even the lone non-political track opens with the line, "Sea of hurt, I feel the waves of pain", while "Asteroid" appears to celebrate the prospect of global annihilation by cosmic collision, presumably as a means of putting a brake on humanity's rapacity. A punchy performance, with a catchy chorus, it would have worked well in one of those asteroid movies of a few years back - although the fact that Hollywood was years ahead of them rather dulls the impact. Still raging, still dreaming.