(This article originally appeared on the BBC Manchester site, 28 July 2003).
|It seems every 80s act is on the comeback trail and Killing Joke are the latest to jump on the bandwagon of bands who were big during the decade from hell. The shock is that Killing Joke is by far and away the best metal album I've heard this year.|
Jaz and the boys were resurrected from the dead by uber-fan Dave Grohl who also sits in with some savage drumming that suggest he might have been the ideal replacement for John Bohman is the much mooted Led Zeppelin reunion.
We should hail Mr Grohl for his enthusiasm because this would be a very respectable album by a new band, but for a band over two decades old, it is a triumph. The riffing is fresh and in your face with Jaz's apocalyptic vision still intact. Think of the awesome Eighties or Psyche rather than the insipid Love Like Blood and you can get an idea of where they are at.
Jaz Coleman has always been a genuine rock and roll nutter. You can just imagine him getting hold of that pantomime villain Marilyn Manson and snapping his scrawny neck with an insolent flick of his wrist.
From the opener The Death & Resurrection Show, we get a bellowed rant after rant against anything from GM foods to organised religion to the recent gulf war. It's all delivered with a gusto and conviction of a man a third of his age.
I'd forgotten what a tight unit the old Joke were. Geordie contributes some massive riffs that most of the young bucks pretending to be guitar gods could never match and our old friend Youth joins in with some very clever, chunky bass lines.
Killing Joke is an album where the pace and invective never really let up. Total Invasion and Asteroid are both scary mothers of songs, although Blood On Your Hands is a fairly obvious rant against the offences of globalisation and capitalism. Dark Forces and The House That Pain Built speak for themselves really. This is not an album to played if you're at home on your own late at night.
It's ironic that
Nirvana were accused of nicking the riff from Eighties for Come As You Are
so maybe Grohl is repaying that debt on behalf of the dearly departed Kurt.
If so, the debt is repaid in full as Killing Joke are back as
a force to be reckoned with. A force in the world of rock that is.