Justin Broadrick’s (Godflesh) favourite LP’s features the mighty ‘Fire Dances’ by Killing Joke.
Killing Joke – Fire Dances
First time I heard Killing Joke was on John Peel, in my bedroom, with a little transistor radio held up to my ear. When my mum and stepdad sent me to bed, so they could smoke dope, I’d go upstairs, clearly high at 11 years old, and play John Peel from ten to midnight. My mum wondered, “Why’s it so hard for him to get up for school?” and it was like, “Because you’re smoking dope all night and I’m breathing it in and I’m inspired to listen to fucking John Peel and all this odd, abstract music.”
I bought this when it came out in ’83 and I’ve obsessed over it ever since. I might go two or three years where I don’t play it but I’m indelibly marked by it. I wouldn’t be here without the first four Killing Joke albums but for some reason this is the one I listened to most when I was writing the latest Godflesh album. I wouldn’t play guitar how I do without that band. When I first heard those discords and tried to mimic them it was a new way for me. It wasn’t like playing a barre chord. I’d come from punk rock and Killing Joke taught me another language.
There are probably better albums but I’m drawn to how incredibly discordant Fire Dances is. It doesn’t sound remotely dated, it could be made in ten years’ time, nothing sounds like it. The drums sound ultra tribal and ultra militant simultaneously and the guitar is so serrated and discordant. It’s utterly fucked up.
When I first heard ‘Wardance’, I heard a kinship with The Stranglers, who I’d been a fan of since the age of eight through my mum and stepdad. I love dirty fucking bass – I mean, that’s what Godflesh is all about: dirty, filthy fucking bass.