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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Killing Joke album I've been waiting for for years, 28 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Absolute Dissent (Audio CD)
This album has just blown me away. After my disappointment with Hosannas and (I have to admit) the 2003 album as well, this will for me be one of their most definitive pieces of work. It's just about all there, nearly all the combined strengths of the band, drawing on their large canon of work from the last three decades.

I say nearly. Paul Ferguson's tribal drumming that so characterised the distinctive Killing Joke sound of the 80s is only hinted at, but this isn't a negative. It's still powerful in its raw style and, together with Youth's bass, keep most tracks thundering along from start to finish. Like Hosannas, there are a lot of tracks between 5 and 6 minutes long but unlike that previous album where I began to wish one or two of the tracks would just end, here they sit just fine. Of course, this is in no small part to do with the welcome return of Jaz Coleman's anthemic singing which made both the Night Time/BTATS and Pandemonium/Democracy 'eras' such great times for Killing joke fans. Thankfully too, Geordie has taken a step or two back from the simple 'thrash' guitar of the previous two records (where I thought he was completely wasting his unique talents) and in some parts returned to the 'classic' Killing Joke sound - check out the fantastic Eighties-style Here Comes the Singularity.

On some tracks the thrash is still there mind, as is Jaz's bellow, but this time around they are fused with the equally dissonant sound of the first three albums. Oh, we have joy indeed! With tracks like Fresh Fever From the Skies, Absolute Dissent and in particular Depthcharge we hear (or at least I hear) the colliding of the two eponymous albums, or Revelations vs. Hosannas. Throw in a bit of European Super State trance and Ghosts of Ladbroke Grove dub and you have Killing Joke's most eclectic album to date.

I don't have the musical jargon at my disposal to properly give justice to this album, but I can't think that there will be many Killing Joke fans from either the 80s, 90s or 2000s that will be disappointed with this latest offering (except maybe those who swear by Outside the Gate).

Brilliant. Uplifting. Stick the Raven King on loud and you'll know exactly what I mean. Sublime, just sublime. Back to their best? Only time will tell, but I for one have all ready decided.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Sep 2010 16:38:00 BDT
Mark Evans says:
Spot on review...I prefer Jaz when he sings rather than shouts,thankfully there's enough of both on this album to keep all KJ fans happy...personally i'm still hoping for another Joke album in the mould of "Night Time" or "Brighter than a thousand suns", but this will do for now.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Sep 2010 19:47:41 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Sep 2010 22:20:21 BDT
Thanks mate. Yep, singing over bellowing any day. Ironic really, considering it was Wardance that got me into them in the first place.

Posted on 5 Nov 2010 01:35:22 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Nov 2010 01:37:01 GMT
BONES says:
I can't agree at all with your assessment of Geordie's guitar. For me it is the biggest disappointment of this album. It's so straightforward and one-dimensional compared to his best work. It is far more like the guitar on their first album, which is a great album but hardly their best work. And Jaz's vocals are constrained by lyrics that don't fit the music nearly as well as they did on earlier albums. The best parts of this album would not make the B-side of any song from Extremities, Dirt and Various Repressed Emotions, which for me is about the middle of the order for their albums. I do agree that it is a big improvement over Hosannas but it is still not very good by Killing Joke's lofty standards. I've tired to get into it but ultimately it just isn't what I expect from them. If I was into bands like Helmet and Tool, I'd probably love it but I'm not, so I don't. As a fan since 1980, I am definitely disappointed.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Nov 2010 12:15:40 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Nov 2010 20:51:21 GMT
Actually I did say that Geordie had taken only a step or two back from the previous two albums. I wasn't exactly going overboard about it. I thought I made it pretty clear that I'm not overly enamoured with the recent path they have taken either. Cheers for your comments though. As for the rest of what you say - it's just down to personal tastes and opinions. I consider The Raven King and Here Comes the Singularity to be far superior to anything on Extremities but we'll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

Maybe it won't surprise you to know that I rank their first album as one of their top 2, probably because I too was 'there from the start'. I have assumed that you think the first is a 'great album' in spite of Geordie's guitar being similar (as you put it) to the current offering .i.e. one-dimensional, even though it's an integral part of that album.

To be honest I think a lot of the 5* star reviewers are just grateful that they haven't come out with another Hosannas. On that we clearly are agreed.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Nov 2010 03:26:28 GMT
BONES says:
You know, after reading this stuff yesterday I put Hosannas on for the first time in a year or more and I actually think it is better than Absolute Dissent, so I'll have to take back my earlier comment. The production is about the same and some of the songs are twice as long as they need to be, but it is much more a Killing Joke album than the new one. A 4 minute version of Invocation would be better than anything on the new album.
Listening to Hosannas also made me realise what is missing from this one - menace. If you listen to the first minute of Hosannas [the song], there is a characteristic Killing Joke menace that is completely missing from Absolute Dissent. It might be heavy and full of anger but it just isn't menacing.
I rank their first album around the middle. I think they steadily improved through the first half of the 80s, although Pandemonium is my absolute favourite.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Nov 2010 19:16:09 GMT
OK, we're not agreed on that then either. Make ya mind up, fella! :) Seriously though, I've never been able to get into Hosannas. Tried but it's just not going to happen. Much like Revelations, which even Empire Song couldn't redeem in my eyes.

I'm not saying Absolute Dissent doesn't have weaker moments. This World Hell I generally skip and though I like In Excelsis, I agree with your comment elsewhere that simply repeating 'In Excelsis' doesn't make for the greatest chorus.

All part of the enigma that is Killing Joke. Up to 10 other tracks could have been put on the current album as well. No surprise. Many fine Killing Joke songs seem to disappear into the ether. I fortunately have the Japanese version of Democracy that includes the mighty 'Mass' as a bonus track, raising it to the level of one of my favourite albums. Beyond me why it wasn't even included on the remaster, let alone the original release.

Anyway, here's to what Jaz told us at the recent Hammersmith gig that another album will be coming next year. Maybe this one will finally unite people. Cheers!

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Nov 2010 23:53:00 GMT
BONES says:
Well, there you go. I think Revelations is their next best album after Pandemonium, and easily the one I listen to most often. I've got Mass on something else, maybe a single. It's OK but also let down by poor production. I've always thought of Democracy as demos that somehow got released, rather than a proper album. Most of it has that feel of a bunch of old friends getting into their groove and doing whatever feels right. I think that has been their problem since Pandemonium, they have been too self-indulgent. Andy Gill reined them in a little, but not nearly enough, but on the last two albums they have gone way overboard. I actually went through last night and ranked the albums from best to worst and I couldn't find any reason for Absolute Dissent not to be at the very bottom of the pile. At least Outside the Gate has America (which I have always thought of as Killing Joke's answer to Van Halen's Jump).

Posted on 31 Jul 2011 00:41:04 BDT
D. P. Lomax says:
As a metal fan i bought this cd purely because the metal journalists all put this in their top 5 albums of 2010 so i thought i'd try it. As a band i'd always heard of but never listened to i didnt have the baggage of making comparisons to their older stuff. All i can say is what a fantastic, refreshing album. there aren't dream theater-esque virtuoso musicians in this band, but there are track after track on solid well crafted rock tunes that hit the mark for a good hour. Sometimes its agood thing to be able to see the big picture without getting caught up in individual peformances. This is a very strong,well written cd that i'm more than proud of to have in my collection. Maybe i can join the debate when i buy the back catalogue.
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