Killing Joke Reminds Us That Reunions Don't All Suck
"Moving Units" has many connotations, including this crappy dance-punk band and selling mad records, but herein is an album that moved Radio-Active Records' Mike Ramirez and County Grind to have an effusive discussion about it.
Absolute Dissent, Killing Joke's 13th album, finally welcomes the
long-awaited return of the original lineup from their formative years
of 1979 to 1982. Regrouped after the momentous blow of the death of
longtime bassist Paul Raven, Absolute Dissent captures the early
postpunk fever combined with the melodic grandeur of their mid-'80s
gothic/new wave tenure. Drummer Paul Ferguson, away for more than 26 years,
has shown no signs of slowing down as his machine-like precision
perfectly complements the dubby low-end of bassist Youth Glover. Guitarist Geordie Walker and lead singer/keyboardist Jaz
Coleman have been the Jagger/Richards of this band's output and
the only two members to survive every incarnation of the band.
How excited were you about the re-formation of the original lineup?
Very! It's a longshot seeing those guys play live in the
States, especially in areas that are not major markets. And they are
notorious for fighting each other and canceling shows. I had tickets in
April to see them the same week with Public Image Limited, and they
postponed the dates until December.
Is this any different from the average cash grab?
I would have no idea. I think one would be foolish to think that cash
doesn't play a part in any reunion. But on the other hand, their
contemporaries simply just ride the nostalgia wave and are
unable to get world tours and labels to even show interest if they are
making a new album. And for a label like Universal to pick up the band
and give them a world tour knowing their maintenance level is quite
difficult, that says a lot about the integrity and output of the band.
Sell me on this like I'm a total noob.
The new album features 12 tracks that are a melting pot of sludge-soaked
industrial post-punk metal and electro/dance indie rock. There's even
a dub track to finish off the album. Don't let the
genre-hopping fool you; Killing Joke are the rare example of a band that
can encapsulate different grooves and songwriting approaches that even
after 30 years will still have tricks up their sleeve that aren't as
outdated as some of their contemporaries. Highlight tracks include the
electro-pop dance single "European Super State"; the anthemic opening
title track; a synth-driven ballad "The Raven King," which is an ode to
their recently deceased ex-bassist; and the '80s-ish "Here Comes the
Is "The Raven King" a fitting lyrical tribute, then?
I'm sure that had a lot to do with the reunion. But I'm more of a
groove guy. I can only take so many lyrics about nuclear arms and atomic
Hearing Killing Joke in 2010 conjures images of...
You would always hear a Killing Joke song in a goth club. Also, I think
it's because they were able to fuse the best genres together without
making a mess of it. Postpunk, industrial, goth, dub, new wave,
metal... and they were able to do it in one song sometimes.
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