(From the New Zealand Herald, 9 April 2006.)
Killing Joke: Hosannas From the Basement of Hell
by Scott Kara
Herald rating: * * * *
Killing Joke are like an old factory that chugs away with dogged and die-hard passion. However, the factory has had a few near shut-downs in their 25-plus years as a band.
The mid-80s were particularly insipid. But their last two albums are back to what they do best - grinding, heavy overtures.
The 2003 self-titled release was polished and propulsive. Hosannas From The Basement Of Hell is similar, with a stripped-back, metallic sound and returns to the haunting tribal-industrial mood caught first on 1980 debut, Killing Joke (which influenced everyone from Tool to Kate Bush).
Tracks such as The Lightbringer and the title track have a primitive churning, the orchestral arrangements of Invocation are ominous, and the riffs throughout the album are relentless.
Singer Jaz Coleman has a tyrannical presence but his throaty rants and raves are less dominant here than on previous releases. The chiselling guitar, bludgeoning bass and primal drums are what propel this beauty along. It is Coleman as conductor, rather than dictator, and it sounds great.
Label: Cooking Vinyl/Shock