Words by Olly MacNamee
Influential of so many bands since their formation back in 1978, such as The Foo Fighters, Metallica and Soundgarden, the mighty Killing Joke are back on the road – touring their latest studio album, Pylon.
Released on 23rd October, via Spinefarm UK (the Finnish born Universal Music Group subsidiary), Pylon is Killing Joke’s 16th studio album in a career spanning over 35 years – produced in the UK & Prague by Killing Joke and Tom Dalgety (Royal Blood, Smoke Faeries, Grave Pleasures).
Then on 31st October (and I couldn’t think of a better date) Killing Joke play the O2 Institute in Digbeth, with support from Asylums. Doors open at 6pm with tickets priced at £22.50 – as presented by Kilimanjaro Live. For direct gig info & online tickets, click here.
With a well documented history of employing shock tactics, startling stagecraft and thrilling theatrics to grab you by the throat and/or balls, I for one look forward to seeing what Killing Joke will have to offer on this unholiest of evenings.
I still remember my first infectious introduction to Killing Joke, watching them at the much-lamented Phoenix Festival back in the mid-90s. It was a Sunday afternoon at dusk, and Jaz Coleman & Co performed along with fire breathers, acrobats and other Cirque De Soleil types against a backdrop not too far removed from the fiery finale of The Whicker Man, the sun drowsily dropping in the west as fire and fake blood illuminated their demonic, dusky denouement.
I can’t even remember who topped the festival bill that day, but I remember Killing Joke. And like a fat boy in Dunkin’ Donuts, I was hooked. Hopelessly. And albeit an experience of the band that had been held outdoors, I cannot believe for one minute that Killing Joke won’t have something up their sleeves come All Hallows’ Eve.
Listening to Pylon, it’s pleasing to hear that Killing Joke’s ferocity remains achingly clear; their sound is still one of rude riffs, tension and conflict – all held together with a more haunting Coleman on lead vocals. The third LP featuring the band’s original and still living members, starting with the recording/release of Absolute Dissent in 2008, Pylon stands as testimony to Killing Joke’s “Heavy and uncompromising, bleak dystopian lyrics,” as Martin ‘Youth’ Glover puts it.
Something that bodes well for the UK leg of their tour, as the tight, high production quality, and recognisable Killing Joke sound, struts and spits from each one of this 10 track album. Or fifteen if you buy ‘Deluxe’.
Their trick? Sounding as fresh and edgy as ever. Although, when all the UK has to offer the world’s musical currency is the likes of Sam Smith and Rita Ora..?
Their treat? Landing at the O2 Institute in Digbeth on the most heathen of evenings. While the Roman Empire and their Catholic Church may have hijacked all other pagan celebrations, dressing them up as Bible based bullsh*t, Halloween is still the night that lets the freaks come out and play.
‘Euphoria’ – Killing Joke (second release from Pylon – out now)
Killing Joke play at the O2 Institute on 31st October, with support from Asylums – as presented by Kilimanjaro Live. For direct gig info, visit http://o2institutebirmingham.co.uk/listings/upcoming-events/21991/killing-joke/
For more on Killing Joke, http://www.killingjoke.com/
For more from the O2 Institute, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit http://o2institutebirmingham.co.uk/