Drowned In Sound review of the forthcoming Killing Joke singles compilation – 9/10.
Formed in London just as the first wave of punk was breathing its last breath, Killing Joke may have practiced in The Clash’s old rehearsal space by the Westway but that’s about as much as they had in common. More experimental than the majority of their peers – the likes of Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle and Fad Gadget would also be concocting visionary new sounds of their own around the same time – debut EP Turn To Red fused together elements of punk, funk and dub reggae across its three musical offerings. Already distinctive soundwise and potentially light years ahead of the meandering major label new wave acts clogging up the airwaves, the four-piece of Coleman, Kevin ‘Geordie’ Walker, Martin ‘Youth’ Glover and Paul Ferguson found a welcome ally in alternative radio legend John Peel. And the rest – as they say – is history.
Thirty-four years and 15 albums later, they’re still a force to be reckoned with, both creatively and in the flesh, as anyone fortunate enough to catch their recent shows at London’s Forum and Corby Rugby Club will attest to. Their self-titled first long player remains one of the most pivotal and defining moments in the history of underground guitar music, from post-punk to heavy metal and beyond. Not to mention their two most recent collections, 2010’s Absolute Dissent and last year’s follow-up MMXII, which reaffirmed their relevance as one of the most forward-thinking outfits on the planet even today. Absolute Dissent also heralding the first recordings the original line-up had put together in 28 years.