11 May 2012
'Apocalypse' is a word that pops up with extreme frequency every time Killing Joke make a move. And the apocalyptic nature of the band's sound is only half the story. It seems that ever since the late 70's these post-punk avangardists have been drawing energy from the feeling of imminent doom looming over the world. And even if you are not caught up in all the hysteria around the end of the Mayan calendar, you'd still have to admit that it provides the perfect environment for Killing Joke.
After 'Absolute Dissent' it must already be clear to you that the band is not only back in its original lineup, but also in top form. In 2010 the wall of metallic noise, shouting and heavy, downtuned guitars that was the basis of their previous album from this millennium was shattered by a breeze of somewhat abandoned post-punk and new-wave ideas. 'MMXII' only deepens this trend, bringing back to the table various elements from the band's almost infinite discography.At one moment
Killing Joke dive back into the intense industrial metal of 'Pandemonium' with 'Rapture,' in the following one they make a turn almost in the direction of 'Love Like Blood' with the uplifting 'In Cythera.' Amidst all of this in 'Fema Camp' Geordie Walker once again proves that he writes riffs that are so good, they can carry whole unnecessarily long songs on their shoulders by themselves (this one is five minutes long).
And even before that Killing Joke remind us that they are not among the bands ruled by common sense, opening the album with 'Pole Shift' – an almost nine minute long composition that jumps from excessively long electronic passages into rapid and explosive tempo changes. Just the type of track that would fit perfectly at the end of an album. T
he end however comes with 'On All Hallow's Eve', a spiritual seance where Jaz Coleman summons the spirits of the dead for the end of the world party. And also makes his best vocal performance in years.
Killing Joke rarely have sounded this diverse as they do in 'MMXII' – the album seems to sum up almost all of the faces they've had as a band the last 30 years. The production is also much more polished and lush than on the last few albums.
There is not a single instrument that dominates the sound – instead, every sound has taken the right place in the mix from where it could hit you as hard as possible. It is much more a matter of focus than pure chaos – and this is a whole new breed of apocalypse.
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