Every time a Killing Joke album was released, I bought it or in later years downloaded. They were always a band I intended to see; I had plenty of opportunities and didn’t. Sadly, with the death of guitarist Geordie Walker that will never happen, and I could kick myself for never going to see them. It’s not the first time I have made these stupid mistakes and will not be the last.
At the time of Geordie’s death Killing Joke was made up of the four original members as they had all come back together in 2008. These four (Geordie, Youth, Paul Ferguson, and Jazz Coleman) had released this debut twenty-eight years earlier.
This is a raw sounding record, seemingly recorded live in the studio. Shouty vocals are not really my thing but Ferguson’s hard effective drums, Youth’s strong bass and Geordie’s stunning riffs all forge together, and Coleman’s vocals are like another layer added to the songs. Its hypnotic and the rhythms of the songs slowly burrow into your head (well mine anyway). Coleman’s synths also deserve a mention as they subtly, if that word can be used for Killing Joke, enhance the songs.
Coleman’s keyboards start the whole album before a single drum and PIL like Metal Box guitars take us into the single Requiem, excellent start. Second track, Wardance is intense, not sure about the vocals on the verses but love the shouty chorus.
Tomorrow’s World is more of a groove and Complications is, dare I say it catchy, wonderful bass from Youth.
S.O.36 has spoken word samples and is fractured and atmospheric and the album ends on the most punk song Primitive.
Metallica covered The Wait, but if you have never heard either go for this one and realise, we have lost a truly original and extremely talented guitarist in Geordie Walker. RIP Geordie
GIVE IT A STREAM: Complications