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2023 Albums Thing 213 - Killing Joke “Killing Joke (2003)“

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A lot of artists release eponymous albums. Not many artists release two eponymous albums. Killing Joke’s debut album in 1983 was titled “Killing Joke” and so was this, their 11th studio album released in 2003. The copy I own is a 2021 re-issue on lovely Purple vinyl. Now there are many reasons for getting excited about a new Killing Joke album, it’s new music for a start off and the anticipation of whether Geordie can add to his stunning collection of pummelling riffs being a couple I can think of. It seems a lot of people got excited about this one purely because some bloke who used to be in a 3 piece band from Seattle played drums on it. Oh well, I guess there’s a chance that some new KJ converts were made.

Let’s get something else cleared up, some people describe this as KJ’s “heavy metal” album…it’s not, OK ? Heavy Metal is mindless fretw@nk concerned with dragons, girls, drinking and singing about itself. This is Killing Joke a band with a mission, a purpose and something to say, about as different from the schoolboy themes of Heavy Metal as it’s possible to get. 

A thing that likely doesn’t get levelled at Killing Joke very often is that, occasionally, between all the brain crushing riffage they write bloody good pop songs and this albums “You’ll Never Get To Me” is one of them. It wasn’t issued as a single but it should have been, it’s got hit written all over it to my ears (I do appreciate that my ears are significantly different to most other people’s and this wouldn’t be the first time something I thought had hit written all over it disappeared without a trace).Ultimately though this is a Killing Joke album, they’re really not going to move far from what they do and do very well. 

I suppose I have to address the drumming. Bassist Youth had met Dave Grohl, a long time KJ fan, while KJ were sans drummer and he expressed a desire to play on their album. The original idea was to to have 3 different drummers on the record, Grohl, John Dolmayan (System Of A Down) and Danny Carey (Tool), but when Dave Grohl heard the songs he wanted to do all of it. In a highly back to front move the band recorded the album (presumably with a drum machine) and Grohl recorded the drums last, in one 5 day session in LA. Band and drummer never played together. I don’t know whether it’s my low opinion of Grohl and his meagre “talents” that colours my thoughts here, but it sounds like it. When all is taken into account he really ain’t no Big Paul Ferguson.

“Killing Joke (2023]” is heavy, loud and filled with a righteous fury about the state of the world we’ve built and are responsible for. Rolling Stone magazine rated it a 2 out of 5 saying “all the humorless gloom and doom feels oppressive after a while” which is a better explanation for why I’ve never read Rolling Stone magazine than anything I could write. 

You'll Never Get To Me - https://youtu.be/54t9Qw4EEEM?si=b_BVp4M32WZ9Hl6F

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