Release Date: Nov 22, 2010
Record label: Fontana / Interscope / Spinefarm Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Killing Joke's 2010 release sees the band's lineup returning to its earliest incarnation, with vocalist Jaz Coleman and guitarist Geordie Walker (the only two constant members) rejoined by bassist Youth and drummer Paul Ferguson for the first time since 1982. They're playing at full strength, with the rhythm section pumping hard on the opening title track and the three that follow it. But on track five, "European Super State," the album takes a surprising turn toward retro, synth-driven disco-pop, sounding like an outtake from Laibach's NATO.
That voice. Jaz Coleman’s voice is what defines a Killing Joke album as a Killing Joke album, a voice that has maintained its power despite being utterly punished for a solid 30 years, and it is in top form throughout Absolute Dissent, the band’s latest album. Coleman is 50 years old now, long past the age when most vocalists start to lose the power that defines them in their youth, and here he is, as ferocious as ever.
The idea to reform long-running industrial rock machine Killing Joke was conceived at the funeral of former bassist Paul Raven, who died in 2007. Somehow this is morbidly appropriate for these British goth-punk pioneers; they've always been a gloomy lot with songs about apocalyptic doom. Their 14th studio album in an off-and-on 30-year career doesn't deviate from Jaz Coleman and company's previous work, and notably includes bassist Martin "Youth" Glover back in the fold.