Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN - 10/12
Written by: PP on 10/09/2012 23:16:20
Even though Killing Joke were never recognized for their influence on the post-punk and industrial rock genres in terms of commercial success, their gloomy, new wave / darkwave oriented approach to the genre has always been lurking in the shadows and has influenced countless bands since their formation in the late 70s. They've kept themselves relatively busy nevertheless with new albums landing every few years or so with the exception of the inactivity years between 1996 and 2002, which means "MMXII" (2012 in roman numerals) is their fifteenth studio album to date.
Most people will have heard the name Killing Joke mentioned in passing mostly in connection with industrial rock/metal bands like Ministry and Revolting Cocks, as well as many post-punk bands who note the band as a sizable influence, but that's just about where it stops for most people. "MMXII" might be the album that signals the resurgence of the Killing Joke fever, however, considering it has received almost unanimous critical acclaim with many labeling it one of the best albums of their entire back catalogue.
It's not difficult to understand why. "MMXII" effectively showcases a seamless concatenation of gloomy industrial rock, post-punk, new wave, and darkwave songs where bits and pieces from each style have been pieced together in the quintessential Killing Joke way. As usual, it's also a politically charged, leftist anti-corporate album, but this time around the themes are perhaps even stronger given the symbolism of the year 2012, which some consider to be the year that the world ends, so the band has utilized this fear to create an album with thematics relating to global catastrophe and state of affairs of the modern civilization.
That's one reason it stands out, the other one is the varied and intriguing manner in which many songs have been composed. They might start out with screeching guitar riffs and dark, powerful clean vocals, then lapse into moments of darkwave style ambiance, though ever present with the pounding undertones of industrial rock on the background, before exploding into heavy guitars and hardcore screams of their always eclectic vocalist Jaz Coleman. In its core essence, "MMXII" is the prototypical album for the 80s new wave/post punk scene, the one album that'll remind you how that scene sounded like back then and can still sound like in 2012, even if it's nowhere near as popular anymore. It's worth alone for the aggressive stance of "Fema Camp" and its polar-opposite contrast, the pure post-punk / ambient piece "In Cythera" that's among the catchiest songs this band has written throughout their career.
Download: Fema Camp, In Cythera, Rapture
For the fans of: October File, Ministry, Skinny Puppy, The Damage Manual
Release date 02.04.2012