(From Zigzag, UK music magazine, April 1982)
The Ultimate Killing Joke
Those who switched on 'Riverside' for a healthy dose of new Killing Joke songs might have been perplexed by the sight of a Fagin-style dummy propping up Jaz's keyboard and his voice emanating from the mouth of drummer Paul.
The truth is, Jaz disappeared the Thursday after the group's Hammersmith Palais gig - on his birthday to be precise. No word was given though the singer had expressed a variety of projects he wanted to complete outside the band, like a book and a solo record with just drums for backing.
Even on the morning of the 'Riverside' recording the others still half-expected him to materialise at the Hammersmith studios. When it became obvious he wouldn't, the decided to go ahead by miming to the album (and got rather bombarded with Southern Comfort in the process).
At press time there was still no word from Jaz, although there have been sightings reported in Switzerland and Iceland.
There's no question of Killing Joke calling it a day. Their new album, 'Revelations', comes out later this month and a tour pencilled in for May will still go ahead, but it's not known under what form yet. That's good news, cos we need the unbridled Killing Joke now more than ever before.
Here is a review of Revelations which appeared in the same issue:
As Killing Joke whip out their best album to date, the band undergoes a drastic personnel change - namely the mysterious disappearance of Jaz Coleman. That must be the killing joke (have you noticed that everything on the band makes up killing jokes?).
Anyway, 'Revelations' sees the Joke committing their passions onto vinyl via the production expertise of Conny Plank. The result is a sheer honing of the Joke attack into a total over-the-maelstrom of agonised heaving guitars, boomingly different drum figurines and Youth's swall-diving bass underpinning the lot. Jaz's synth is mainly confined to deadly bomber drones and factory crashes, while his voice comes over with far more melody and injected feel than before.
It's a vicious, hulking Sherman of a sound, trampling musical weaklings out of the room with ease from the opening cascading throb of 'The Hum' to the deranged splutterings of 'Dregs'. I don't reckon 'Empire Song' is the best single - 'Chop Chop' dwarfs it and is a great example of the fresh dynamics littering the tracks - calm chords before they dive headfirst into the apocalyptic rhythmics. Ecstatic variety which ... oh how can you even think of the weakened new breed of TOTP posturings currently polluting the screens? Buy it in your thousands - chop chop!