Fans who thought Killing Joke had hit rock bottom with Brighter Than a Thousand Suns were proven wrong by the follow-up effort. To be fair, Outside the Gate was never meant to be a Killing Joke album, at least not by the band. It was a solo album by lead singer Jaz Coleman -- with KJ guitarist Geordie Walker helping out -- until the record label muscled the band's name onto the cover in an attempt to make some money off this misguided experiment. Here Coleman tries to become a bona fide singer rather than just a vocalist, and turns his usual growl and shout into a croon. His delivery is iffy, undermining his grandiose lyrics which are further damaged by the horribly thin music. Pallid synths poorly imitate orchestras, the complex song structures are just tedious, Coleman acts as if he's Freddie Mercury and David Bowie mashed together, and none of the throb, thunder, or heavy riffage so important to the Killing Joke name is to be found. Put it this way: this is the Killing Joke album where castanets are heard and both bassist Paul Raven and drummer Big Paul Ferguson quit the band to avoid association with this misfire. If you're anything but a very forgiving completist, pass on this one.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries