This article is more than 13 years old and may not have been updated since our last site redesign. It may contain outdated information or could be missing images.

KJ AD FClowOver the course of the past three decades, KILLING JOKE have established themselves as one of the most highly influential, yet vastly overlooked bands in music.

Having evolved over the years, the musical chameleons have been known by their followers for their forays into the darkest realms of punk rock, goth, industrial, metal, and electronic music. There are different faces of KILLING JOKE, but no matter which incarnation you enjoy, all of them have seemingly appeared within the confines of ABSOLUTE DISSENT (out now in Europe, November 16, 2010 in the U.S.) their latest album, and first for UK-based Spinefarm Records.

After being brought back together to mourn the death of former KJ bassist PAUL RAVEN, the original lineup of Jeremy “Jaz” Coleman (vocals), Kevin “Geordie” Walker (guitar), Martin “Youth” Glover (bass) and “Big” Paul Ferguson (drums) hatched a plan to record an album together for the first time in 28 years. With the ever-shifting sound of the band welcoming back members who were not there for the entire evolution (only bits and pieces, off-and-on), the sonic prospects were intriguing as to which direction the music would go.

While not as slickly-produced as 2003’s second self-titled KILLING JOKE (which some may argue was over-produced), the metallic elements of the band remain a large focus  – not quite as “industrial” as 1994’s PANDEMONIUM, but retaining the raw production style of 2006’s HOSANNAS FROM THE BASEMENTS OF HELL. Geordie’s guitars manage to bring both crunch and punk, as Youth’s basslines – funky as ever – drive a groove that runs beneath Jaz’ oft-maniacal vocals, and stays seamlessly in-tune with Ferguson’s forceful drumming. And that, my friends, is just on the title track…

With a “live” feel bursting with emotional ferocity, the band tears through the hour-long set with ease, bringing with them the ever-present social consciousness, reminding listeners that much like the cinema of George A. Romero, statements on the current Global Climate will be made on each new output from the band. With tracks like “European Super State,” and lyrics that tackle everything from shady pharmaceutical companies to monitored population, KJ remains as angry as ever.

Standout Tracks: Absolute Dissent, End Game, Depthcharge, Ghosts on Ladbroke Grove.

ABSOLUTE DISSENT is one of my favorite albums of 2010.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Note: A Companion Album entitled ABSOLUTE RESPECT has been released with the 2-Disc Versions of ABSOLUTE DISSENT. ‘Respect features covers by bands that have been influenced by the work of KILLING JOKE. While the disc was not available for the writing of this review, you can look forward to my thoughts on that in a separate article. Having personally discovered the band in the early ’90’s via their influence on PRONG (of which Paul Raven would join for two albums), I’m looking forward to hearing this collection, despite hearing many of the tracks separately (Metallica, Helmet, Fear Factory, et al).

Previous articleCARLOS SANTANA – GUITAR HEAVEN (Review)