on 30 January 2009
I bought this album after I heard the live version of "Inside Extremities" (see my Amazon review of that album) and was worried that the studio version would be an anticlimax after that excellent album. Well, no worries now - "Extremities" is a top notch bit of Joke.
The previous reviewer described the production as "rough" but I must disagree - I think it's quite polished actually with none of the harshness or jaggedy edges of their earliest work - none the worse for it, I hasten to add.
The headline track is "Money", a particularly intense effort. Raven's headache inducing bassline thumps away in the background alongside Atkins' neanderthal percussion and Geordie's tight riffing runs up and down your spine like icewater. It's both easy and hard to see why it didn't perform as a single: 'Do you grovel to your master? Do you beg like a dog?'. However, neither "The Age of Greed" nor "The Beautiful Dead", with their uncompromising message and sneering delivery, could be mistaken for chart material: 'encouraged by commercials to spend beyond my means, I laughed as it all fell apart at the seams."
I keep returning to "Termite Mound" as possibly my favourite of "the other KJ songs" and it stands alongside the live version very nicely, if it is a little more restrained. "North of the Border" is a strange one, with a melodic opening that segue's into a more classic rock beat overlaid by Jaz's growling 'scrape ... my ... nails ... across a brick" (WTF?).
This, the deluxe version, comes in a nifty "vinyl effect" with a second "dual disc". On one side is the "Money" music video (good value) and on the audio side are a number of demo versions and a live song. The latter is a recording of "Money" from (I think) a French gig and it opens with one of Mr Coleman's classic paranoid harangues. I approached the demo versions ("The Party", "The Fanatic", "Solitude" and "Jubilation") with some trepidation after the 'meh'terial on "Inside Extremities" but was pleased to find that these tracks are high quality recordings that could have sat on the album itself.
Final special mention to Martin Atkins on the bongoes. Why couldn't the group have kept him on for a few more albums? I reckon he does the job at least as well as Big Paul. Perhaps they couldn't afford to keep replacing his battered-to-death drum kits.
"All mod-cons there was dust on the drums. My electronic beat-box got the job done"
Not on this album Jaz.
on 28 August 2011
Killing Joke have been through a number of different musical phases, but the spirit behind them remains the same.
I think this is the strongest of all KJ albums - anxious, intense, edgy, angry, passionate and powerful. Oh yeah, and well-produced too. The Joke's latest album, 'Absolute Dissent' is powerful too, in it's metal onslaught, Jaz's bellowing vocals, and the end-of-the-world lyrics. But 'Extremities' is more powerful in it's greater 'subtlety'. Jaz makes a better job of singing, the guitar is sharper, the drumming heavier... The whole thing holds together well, including the instrumental synthesiser track 'Kaliyuga', and the album feels more apocalyptic than 'Absolute Dissent'. At first I just wanted to play the standout tracks - 'Money Is Not Our God', 'Age of Greed', 'The Beautiful Dead' and 'Inside The Termite Mound', but the other tracks are good too - though some of them aren't instant, but 'growers'. 'North Of The Border' for instance didn't do it for me immediately, but it got under my skin after a few listens. I love the albums 'Nightime' and 'Pandemonium', but if I could only have one KJ album it would probably be this one