Killing Joke is one of those great bands who have been influencing the music scene for a very long time. They’re a band that is well known and influential in metal and industrial music. Their sound has influenced a slew of bands ranging from Soundgarden to Ministry.
Starting back in 1978, over the years Killing Joke has had it’s ups and downs and revolving players. Hitting a stride during the 80’s then unfortunately fizzling by the mid 90’s. In 2002 the Killing Joke line up of Jaz Coleman, Kevin “Geordie” Walker, and Martin “Youth” Glover reunited. They released a self titled album “Killing Joke” (one of my favorites) which was much heavier than anything previously released. In 2008 the full original line up reunited, adding Paul Ferguson back into the mix. In 2010 they released “Absolute Dissent” which maintained some of that heaviness from their 2002 album, but balanced it out with some slight melody.
Now in 2012 we find “MMXII” moving Killing Joke even closer towards a centered mix of melody combined with aggression. The music is heavy and driving at times but also very rhythmic. Jaz’s very recognizable vocals work well with power and aggression when needed and at other times bringing a softer, mellow balance to many of the tracks.
The opening track “Pole Shift” is very much newer Killing Joke. The music shifts a couple of times between slow and mellow to fast and aggressive. Full of crunchy guitars, ambient electronic sounds and some softer melodies. Where songs like “Corporate Elect” and “Rapture” are speed demons filled with grungy guitars and driving beats that’ll get your feet stomping. Once again with Jaz switching between growling screams and melodic vocals. With “In Cythera” and “Primobile” things are slowed a little, while keeping a steady beat. They have a touch of an 80s vibe with some keyboard work and Jaz’s vocals keeping the tracks on an even, mellow level.
Killing Joke’s “MMXII“ finds the band putting together a balanced mix of their older sound with some of their more aggressive style developed over the years. MMXII will appeal to old and new fans alike and is a fine example of excellent, well balanced heavy music.