(From the London Telegraph, daily newspaper, 22 October 2007)
Paul Raven, who died on Saturday aged 46, was formerly bass guitarist with Killing Joke, the British post-punk band best remembered for their hit Love Like Blood (1985) and often cited as an influence on acts such as Nirvana.
Raven was recruited to the group in unusual circumstances. It had been formed at Notting Hill Gate in the late 1970s by frontman Jaz Coleman, featuring Paul Ferguson on drums, Geordie Walker on guitar and Martin "Youth" Glover on bass. The band's early music was a ritualistic, doom-laden sonic throb, described by Ferguson as "the sound of the earth vomiting".
This noise led them to be bracketed with the likes of Joy Division, and attracted punk and heavy metal fans as well as the notice of the disc jockey John Peel. They also drew a measure of controversy when the cover of one release depicted Pope Pius XII with Nazi soldiers.
Coleman was, for the times, a musician of unusually wide-ranging interests, among them the works of the occultist Aleister Crowley; and he professed beliefs that some viewed as idiosyncratic. By 1982 he had become convinced that the end of the world was nigh and persuaded several of the other members of the band to move with him to Iceland, which he felt would be safe from the imminent Apocalypse. When this failed to materialise, Glover chose to return to Britain, and Raven replaced him.
He played with Killing Joke during what proved to be their most successful years, which coincided with a less aggressive and more commercial approach to their music. The album Fire Dances (1983) was the first to display this lighter sound, and while there were still gothic elements to the synthesizer-laden Night Time (1985), its tone was almost pop; and it yielded the band's sole British chart entry, Love Like Blood, which reached No 16. The follow-up LP, Brighter Than a Thousand Suns (1986), was generally well-received, but Coleman had begun to record solo projects, and this led to tension within the group. In 1987 Raven left the band in acrimonious circumstances, while their record label released Coleman's tracks as a new Killing Joke album, Outside The Gate (1988). Raven returned for Extremities, Dirt & Various Repressed Emotions (1990) but the group then split, with all but Coleman forming Murder Inc. As it was, the next few years were spent in legal argument.
Paul Vincent Raven was born in Wolverhampton on January 16 1961, and first gained musical experience with bands such as Kitsch and Neon Hearts.
In 1992 Killing Joke reformed, but with Glover once more on bass. Raven instead joined the hardcore group Prong, and later played with several other bands and worked as a producer. Coleman, whom Raven described unhesitatingly as a genius, went to live for a time in the South Pacific, pursuing his long-standing interest in non-Western music. By the dawn of the new millennium Coleman had achieved success with compositions for Maori singers in New Zealand, and had also begun living in Prague.
Killing Joke reformed there to release an eponymous LP in 2003, to which Raven contributed, as did the drummer Dave Grohl, formerly of Nirvana.
Raven also played on the next album, Hosannas from the Basements of Hell (2006), and began to work with the band Ministry. Glover, meanwhile, had become a re-mixer and producer for such acts as U2 and The Verve.
Coleman is presently Composer in Residence to the European Union.
Paul Raven was found dead in France of a suspected heart attack. He had recently been recording in Geneva with the industrial band Treponem Pal.