Looking for intensity? An intensity that doesn’t always need to be over-the-top and shouty, except when that’s just what’s needed? Killing Joke might be what you are looking for.
Killing Joke is a deadly serious Post Punk band originating in London, England. They don’t display much of a sense of humor as they tear into the evils of society, political corruption, and corporate greed. And though this might seem off-putting to some, they do craft some pretty excellent songs. There are good melodies and some mellowness mixed in with their intensity. And lots of excellent guitar riffs. Especially on their 1985 release Night Time.
Killing Joke is led by singer and keyboardist Jaz Coleman. When watching the band play live, Coleman provides about 80% of the band’s intensity. I saw the band a couple times in the mid 80s and it was darn near impossible for me to take my eyes off of him. I’ve seen some more recent video of the band playing live and Jaz still has that intensity coming out his pours.
All nine tracks on Night Time are credited as being composed by the band: Coleman (vocals/keyboards), Geordie Walker (guitar), Paul Raven (Bass), and Paul Ferguson (drums/vocals). When playing live, Coleman is the star of the show, but on this album Walker’s guitar takes center stage.
Night Time – I always love me a good opening track and this one is awfully good. It’s a hard driving song with the bass and drums locked in together and Walker’s guitar chugging along.
Darkness Before Dawn – This is one of those mostly quiet intense tunes with bursts of energy to pull the listener along. Great riffs by Walker throughout.
Love Like Blood – This was the band’s highest charting song in Europe (#16 in the UK) and it’s a dance track. Sure, it’s still intense and filled with shredding guitar riffs, but it’s got a great danceable beat grounded by a terrific bassline. Coleman’s vocals are more subtle with good range on this track.
Kings And Queens – The dance-ability started by the previous track is present in this song. It’s a little more angry than Love Like Blood. And there’s that great slashing guitar, of course.
Tabazan – The 15 seconds of hyperventilation that start the song gives away to more of that excellent Walker guitar work. Coleman’s vocals for most of this track are strained and edgy. It’s almost an though he’s on the brink of some crisis or maybe an orgasm.
Multitudes – Mellowness, or as mellow as Killing Joke can be, finds its way onto this track. Raven’s bass really drives the song.
Europe – A contemplative track with (surprise!) more great guitar by Walker. It’s a good set-up for the next track.
Eighties – Oh, man! This my favorite track on the album and my favorite song by Killing Joke. This has the most monstrous of monster guitar riffs ever to be riffed. And not just by Killing Joke Name any other monster riff. Any! This one is just as good. Probably better. It’s so good it was rumored Killing Joke sued Nirvana for ripping it off for their song Come As You Are. According to Rolling Stone magazine, no such lawsuit was ever filed. Well, whatever, the song kicks ass!
Night Time is available on Spotify.
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Warehouse Find is the official blog of NostalgiaZone.com, where you can find books, games, toys, cards, and a huge selection of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age comic books. Jim also has a podcast called Dimland Radio. He’d love it if you checked it out. It’s available on iTunes.