(From the Ottawa Citizen, 10 November 1994.)
Killing Joke Back with Original Lineup
TORONTO (CP)-- Britain's Killing Joke are back on
the road. Can the apocalypse be far behind?
Well not necessarily. It seems the hard-edged industrial rock trio isn't quite as doomsday-oriented as it was more than a decade ago -- singing songs such as Bloodsport and War Dance.
Things were so bad, in fact, two members of the band upped and moved to Iceland.
Reformed and apparently rejuvenated, Killing Joke is touring North America, with recent shows in Toronto and Montreal.
Original bassist Youth (Martin Glover) is back in the fold, marking the first time the original lineup has toured in 12 years. That includes singer-keyboardist Jaz Coleman and guitarist Geordie (who goes by just the one name).
The new album Pandemonium -- their first since 1990 -- still rocks like a steamhammer, but this time with a hint of something positive.
"I think there's an amount of optimism in there, yeah, definitely," says Youth, now 33.
So while on songs such as Millenium, Killing Joke notes that "extinction seems to be a plausible risk," Coleman says later in the song: "Yes, I believe that we can turn it around."
Still, the band sings about chaos, guilt, pain, AIDS and cruelty -- not to mention barbed hooks penetrating flesh.
Whatever the lyrical content, Pandemonium screams out to be played at high volume.
"All I can say is it sounds primordal," Youth says of the band's powerful brand of music. "It sounds like it's out of another time altogether."
And it's a sound that has found a lot of fans, albeit years later.
Bands such as Ministry and Nine Inch Nails have made this dark, relentless industrial-type music their own.
"I don't think, 'Oh, I was there first.' I don't see it competitively," Youth says.
"I get a certain amount of fulfilment when I read other bands giving us acknowledgements and finding our music and what I did in the past some way influential, encouraging to them and their own."
Asked about the trio's reputed creative tension, Youth laughed and replied: "Yeah we create a lot of tension and we let it explode. And that's it."
He left the band in 1982 to pursue a successful career as a producer and mixer.
The band continued on in fits and starts, with Youth returning in 1992.
Pandemonium was recorded around the world -- in New Zealand, where Coleman now makes his home, in London (Youth's home base) and in Egypt where they recorded in the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid.