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4.7 out of 5 stars35
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 28 September 2009
I have been listening to and buying music since 1970, and this ranks as my all-time favourite disc. This is the brilliant Killing Joke's first full-length effort and it is a roller coaster ride of thumping riffs, psychotic tribal drumming, soaring cadences and football anthem choruses
Jaz Coleman, the ringmaster of this extraordinary ensemble and world-renowned nutter par excellence, barks the vocals or delivers them in an appropriately world-weary fashion.
It all seems to come together in a glorious whole.
A timeless and quite extraordinary classic.
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on 6 September 2009
Sit down, shut up and hold on. Turn this thing up and believe you can deal with it. You will be a wiser and more chastened human being for it. At the time there was nothing else like this, still isn't.
If you liked the songs 'Love like Blood' or 'Eighties'...........this is nothing like it.
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on 23 June 2004
They emerged from the carcrash that was the tail end of punk, along with Wire, Public Image and Gang of Four, working in a similar area, but adding a perfectly formed vicious nihilism along with their grinding synthesizers to create an overpowering and brutal sonic attack. Joke spat out an ominous mix of the organic and technological, paving the way for the wave of industrial and post-punk bands that would follow later in the decade.
Geordie's hypnotically cascading guitar intertwined with soaring synth washes and the tribal funk dub of Youth's booming bass. Riding this doom laden wave were the savage vocals of Jaz Coleman conjuring up images of decay and paranoia.
Their iconicly subversive artwork, almost always rendered just black, white and red, featured intentionally inflammatory images... they were once banned from performing in Glasgow after promoting the gig with a poster featuring the Pope blessing battalions of Nazi stormtroopers. The gatefold cover of the original vinyl release is no exception with it's urban guerillas silhouetted astride a graffitti'd wall in a wasteland that all too accurately evokes the mood of the Thatcherite 80s.
The band quickly amassed a loyal following from the both punk and funk scenes with hard-edged, anthemic, danceable tunes like the chainsaw riff-laden "Requiem" which was released as a single and backed with the monstrous staccato groove that is "Change". Coleman coughs his way into the metallic assault of "Wardance", before tumbling through the bleak desolation of "Tomorrows World" and into the abrasively brilliant instumental "Bloodsport".
Killing Joke is the desperate soundtrack of a stark hopeless future and more convincing depiction of an oncoming audio apocalypse would be hard to find.
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on 11 September 2005
About 25 years after its inception, this album still holds up very strong and is bound to do so for a long time to come. It is the essence of organic music, stripped bare of any pretensions. Life between steel and concrete, man-made anger and desolation seem to drip from every line of the lyrics, from every abrasive chord. The slow reeling "Requiem", the angry and opressive "Wardance", and the spacious "Tomorrow's World", they seem atomic fragments of emotion rather than songs. But this is what makes this work seem truly detached and timeless - so true in its form and rarely captured in any other music of roughly the same genre.
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on 25 January 2004
Maybe it was the gatefold cover on the original vinyl release, with the graffitti'd wall that set the tone for the political wasteland that was to envelope the 80s, but this record still creates the mood that prevailed as the Evil Thatch took her throne. This is the perfect soundtrack to the cold and stark landscape of Orwell's 1984 that was only just around the corner when this was originally released.
In Requiem you have a neo-religious anthem for those that opposed. It's also a classically structured piece of operatic drama based on turbo-powered synthesisers and huge drums - the new wall of sound. And accompanied by a voice that Jaz Coleman surely discovered in the bins of hell provides the edge that makes you scared to play it in the dark. (The 12" single version is backed by the fantastic dance-oriented Change which is a must-buy.)
Wardance is another tremendously powerful track that is very much a call to arms. Possibly one of the earliest examples of hard, urban techno-dance (well that's what I'd describe it back then), there is also a stripped down (and in my opinion even better) version on 7" single.
This and the next Killing Joke album "What's this for?" still do it and provide a great reminder for the late 70s/early 80s post-industrialist miserablist period that featured equally articulate musical commentators such as Joy Division/New Order, Cabaret Voltaire and DAF.
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on 27 January 2006
Killing Joke need to be seen live to be fully appreciated, this, however is perhaps their finest album and Wardance possibly one of the greatest, simplest and heaviest riffs conceived
Its hard to believe this was recorded nearly 30 years ago
KJ have inspired too many bands to mention and are still a force to be reckoned with now
Buy me
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on 18 February 2015
I've been listening to KJ for years but had never delved into any pre- 'Night Time' stuff for some reason, so it was a revelation to hear this first album, which I think is one of their best. Most Killing Joke albums have some duff tracks, as well as as some corkers, but this is consistently good all the way through. I think the weakest track is the opener, 'Requiem', but after that it's all good. There is variety, from the rocking, snarling 'Wardance' to the strange and atmospheric S.O.36, but it holds together well as a coherent whole. I love the eighties sound of this, the harsh guitars, the 'tribal' drumming, the synth sounds and Jaz's singing. The whole album evokes the collapse of civilisation, or some post-apocalyptic world, but it's not all negative; there are hints of positive values underneath the anger. The bonus tracks aren't worth bothering with, except for 'Change', which is an upbeat gem, almost a 'dance' track. The production of this album is excellent. The artwork complements the music perfectly.
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Savage sounds of cyber-naughts beamed out of a cathode tube, enscribed onto digital bytes. The Moroder disco beat on Bloodsport collides with full metal barriers as a rabid dance signalling a desire for Change. This was the sound of the searing Gibson, tribal drums, reggae deep, post Pil bass and feral barks of vocal bytes marking the coming of the end.

Revelations was embedded in the vibe, the pounding hooves of the 4 men of the apocalypse, galloping across the Russian steppes to wreak destruction. This album was a signifier of the collapse. KJ went so far in their belief they fled to Iceland to await the carnage. It never materialised in the West. It only happened in the developing world. This was the KJ fundamental error in the analysis.

The song structures however stand beyond this error. A range of atmospheric pieces ranging from an ode to the close, austere venue in Kreutzberg, West Berlin, SO36 to the pounding of the Wardance. This music was injected with passion rather than sedated with designer cocktail Valerian. The opposite of the Robert Elms world of style over substance. Sociopathetic chameleons clamouring to party to the Blitz fop show.

This channels anger into electric jolts, penetrating the concrete masonry of the wall, der mauer. There is no moderne equivalent to this sound. It is the blast furnace door rendered ansunder allowing the heat to singe and sear all in its path. A time when music was infused with passion, albeit skewed, it had a backbone, rather than flipped flopped with the guile of a jellyfish.
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on 29 July 2015
Great to revisit this amazing, ground breaking album in light of a great year for stunning new albums from Sleaford Mods, the Membranes and The Fall- never has the underground sounded so vital - have you heard that Membranes Dark Matter/Dark Energy album yet!? and it pulls me back to Killing Joke - a key release in all this kind of no compromise genius.
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on 28 April 2011
According to the stamp on the inner sleeve I bought this in Nele record shop Walsrode Germany, wonder if it's still there. Maybe but Killing joke are still here.
If I was a musician , which I'm not 10 years and I can only play two chords, this would be the album I'd dream to make well along with Beer and sex and chips and gravy.

Ths still sounds fantastic after all these years Hard hitting and at the time very different from the other sounds around in 1980. The only trouble is I thought this was so good everything that Killing joke did after this was for me a slight disapointment. It's been a while since I've played this and I'm wondering why?
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