(From the Toronto Sun, 10 August 1982. Special thanks to Mario Paiva for transcribing this and sending it in.)

Killing 'Em Loudly, in Jaz Tradition

by Johnathan Gross

KILLING JOKE is, if nothing else, putting dangerous weight back into 'heavy metal,' a term made benign by continued misapplication.
Yes, we know the British quartet, which just completed two nights at Larry's Hideaway, fancy themselves as 'New Brutalists' and the critical anthropologists have classified them a "post-punk-industrial constructivists" or something. Jaz Coleman is rock's leading doom and gloom merchant, now predicting a necessary, cleansing holocaust for western society from his communal bunker in Iceland. He calls himself an optimist.
But the Joke's music is as lucid and literate a message as Jaz will ever be in interview. Not just heavy, the Joke's torporific slow grind is oppressive, turgid and unrelenting. Geordie's expressionless guitar moves in painfully slow nondescript circles and, teamed with Paul Raven's bass, the cumulative effect is that of broadsword scratching a sandpaper washboard.
Jaz's atonal synth jabs approach one's equilibrium like the screech of chalk on a blackboard. Only Paul Ferguson's optimistic battle drumming keeps the Joke's death march moving through Empire Song, The Gathering and the austere funk of Change.
In combat blackface, Jaz scratches and crawls his way through the hulking thunder with vocals that rung out like a zombie's death throes. It was also too much after awhile, as Jaz who dabbles in post-punknotic suggestion, had planned. "We know how some sounds affect people's minds," he claimed in a phone interview last week.
Real heavy metal it was, lean, mean and overwhelming.