Following on from 2010’s Absolute Dissent this is yet another great “comeback” album from Killing Joke. The band’s albums existing in some strange continuum – certainly the ones since 2003’s self-titled one anyway. For it’s almost as if each new album is a wipe of the slate, a clean – fresh – start. Where everything is forgotten but all that is vital is remembered (reworked/reworded/retraced) at the same time.
Take opener, Pole Shift, across nine minutes it sways and rolls and finds its own groove, well it’s always more of a churn than a groove, the melody and rhythm clashing and alternating, morphing into one another.
This – again – is when you know it’s nice to hear the original line-up back in the driving seat.
The album, now, is not new, MMXII the Roman numerals for 2012, the record a year old (in most territories anyway). But I wanted to mention it because I was a bit late to it and I can’t stop playing it. It begs (and rewards) repeat listens.
And to recently see the band go through its singles (ignoring the new album) was to see a unit still capable of summoning all that was great about that violent, brutal, slow-churning swelling of sound. I’ve enjoyed returning to this album post-gig, again it’s about that continuum; about adding to the journey – I hear this album (now) playing out as the coda to that show.
New albums shouldn’t be as good as this or Absolute Dissent has been. Well, that’s the usual argument anyway; that the new albums could never be as good as the band’s best work – but here Killing Joke extend the continuum, extending the band’s paradigm too. They continue that good work. They still sound not quite of their time. And there’s so much in this record.
On All Hallow’s Eve, this record’s closing track, is an emotional high point for the band.