(From The Scotsman, Edinburgh-based daily, 6 October 2003.)

Killing Joke

The Garage, Glasgow

ALTHOUGH the return of gothic punks Killing Joke after seven years in the wilderness - probably literally, in the case of shamanic lead singer Jaz Coleman - has not exactly been acclaimed from the rooftops; it has sent significant ripples of anticipation throughout their cult fanbase.   It transpires that the Joke, as old goths know them, are still powered by the thrilling opposition of Coleman’s bug-eyed pantheistic sermonising and guitarist Geordie’s pulverising, stripped-down signature sound.   On Saturday night, that creative tension produced not so much sparks as a full-on conflagration. Killing Joke played with an intensity and vision missing in bands half their age.   Their influence on the darker, more industrial end of nu-metal - bands worshipped by teenagers with black nail polish - is obvious.   But Killing Joke have more to offer than a blueprint. Rhythmically, they possess a certain armour-plated funkiness, while Coleman, kitted out in warpaint and a medieval seer’s robes, howling gutturally at the moon, makes a captivating, if overwrought, frontman. On this evidence, the Joke could run and run.  

Fiona Shepherd