Marking the full return from the band's out-of-nowhere hiatus in 1982, Night Time, following after a couple of test-the-waters EPs, finds the reconstituted Killing Joke, with Paul Raven in on bass but otherwise unchanged, caught between their earlier aggression and a calmer, more immediately accessible approach. This turned out to be the band's Achilles heel in the end, with later albums in the '80s evidence that the group had turned into an unbelievably boring, generic modern rock band. At this point, however, the tension between the two sides had a perfect balance, and as a result Night Time is arguably the quartet's freshest album since its debut, with a warm, anthemic quality now supplementing the blasting, driving approach that made the band's name, as songs like "Kings and Queens" demonstrate. Geordie Walker pulls off some jaw-dropping solos amid his fierce riffs -- check out his turns on the title track -- while Paul Ferguson mixes and matches electronic beats with his own very well (perhaps a little less intensely than before, but not by much). Jaz Coleman's experimentation with keyboards -- chopped-up vocal samples, calmer and sweet lead melodies -- is paralleled by his own singing, now mostly free of the treatments and echoes familiar from earlier days. He's got a great singing voice as it stands, and it's a treat to hear him let it flow forth without forcing it. "Eighties" turned out to be the retrospectively most well-known song, due to a surprising and not always remembered example of Killing Joke's influence -- Nirvana, of all groups, thoroughly cloned the watery guitar line at the heart of the track for "Come as You Are." "Love Like Blood" was the breakthrough single in the U.K., although -- and for good reason -- it managed the bizarre trick of slotting alongside Duran Duran for mainstream radio airplay while still sounding like nobody other than Killing Joke. A pity the group then spent some years doing pallid clones of the song.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett