Maybe not quite up there with MMXII – but still Pylon is yet another great Killing Joke album from what is essentially the second-attempt at an era by (most of) the classic line-up, and arguably it’s been a more consistent run. No duds at all since 2003 – they’re rocking harder, and the wall of sludge-meets-sound gives them an edge over a lot of metal bands for this has the requisite dirt and grit. And there’s something Jaz Coleman has – in his phrasing – where he can layer a huge (essentially pop-song) chorus and melody over the riffle-shot riffs.
That’s certainly the case on Dawn of the Hive which opens up across its nearly seven minutes and moves away from the jackhammering intro to sprawl out with hooks. Of course it’s wrapped up neatly with a return to the riff.
New Cold War has anthemic rage from Coleman – Killing Joke was perhaps always the band-in-waiting for the apocalypse and it seems that just as we are only just hanging on, so too are they; somehow it’s making them grow stronger.
There is an eyes-on-the-prize attitude to these songs and perhaps that unwavering effort can make it all seem a little (too) samey, but that’s about the only criticism you can level at Pylon. (Unless you want to term Euphoria as U2 with speed wobbles).
I Am The Virus shows why Killing Joke was an outlier of the antecedents for grunge, it’s got the guitar tone and lapsed speed-metal drumming that showed up on Nirvana’s Bleach and all over the early Soundgarden recordings.
Give Jaz a chance to chant too and the punters remain happy.
Roll on the symphonic treatments of the back catalogue – it’s in the pipeline – meanwhile Killing Jokes remains the best punk, metal and something else-band anyone over 40 can still hang on for and hang out to hear. And the sound isn’t just for the oldies there the first time and clinging to nostalgia. There’s an energy so palpable here that sends this music on its hurtle towards new ears also.