Killing Joke

Killing Joke [2003]

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It's best to takes notes as lead singer Jaz Coleman calmly reads a list of provisions ("Put on your masks/And animal skins") because Killing Joke's second self-titled album is about to take over. Moments after Coleman's stoic opening, Geordie Walker's guitar chugs into action and awakens Killing Joke's most threatening juggernaut of an album in years. Bass players Youth and Paul Raven are both back (although Youth's stint in the group looks to be temporary) and Dave Grohl guests on drums, perhaps paying the Joke back for adapting the killer riff of "Eighties" for Nirvana's "Come as You Are." Grohl's drumming is suitably intense and tribal when need be, while Andy Gill's production miraculously makes sense of the band's thunderous sludge. Still the Coleman/Walker partnership is the star of the show as they play off and push each other like a doom-and-gloom Jagger/Richards. It sounds like Coleman is sitting in the dentist chair with one of those little vacuums sucking out the words on "Total Invasion," while Walker patiently waits his turn to blast out his own brand of stately mayhem. "Asteroid," "Blood on Your Hands," and "Loose Cannon" are all highlights with the band sounding as inspired as when they started, adding the advantage of years of interaction, and "You'll Never Get to Me" presents a brand new shimmering and yearning angle to the group. While Killing Joke's discography has more than its fair share of awkward and overly ambitious albums, they've once again returned to the fury and focus of their classics.

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