Release Date: Apr 2, 2012
Record label: Spinefarm Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Post-Punk
Having reformed the original line-up back in 2008 and subsequently released one of the best records in an already impressive back catalogue, it would be easy for Killing Joke to sit back and rest on their laurels. But then this band have never been about taking the conventional approach. The fact Absolute Dissent received such widespread acclaim from both critics and fans alike has in itself created an even bigger challenge.
For an album signalling the end, or at least a dramatic transformation, of the world we know (hence the title's reference to 2012), the newest Killing Joke record is unsettlingly laidback. The lyrics are still full of cutting observations and social critiques (take the anti-capitalism slant of "Corporate Elect," for example), but the urgency driving 2010's Absolute Dissent has shifted into something more akin to a sense of anticipation. Not that MMXII doesn't have its harsher, heavier moments.
Killing Joke have been around for a long while and influenced everyone from Nirvana to Nine Inch Nails, so it should come as no surprise that the central topic they decide to address on MMXII, their 15th studio full-length, is—as the roman numerals suggest—2012: the supposed end of the world, according to the Mayan calendar. It’s a topic that plays well to their dark industrial sensibilities. Gloom complements doom, and so on and so forth.
Dense forest, dark threatening shadows and the heaviest of missives. Indeed, as the title nods to the on-rushing apocalypse, and even if one takes serious note of such a prophecy, it is still warming to discover that, in the final year of man's painful plight, Killing Joke are still making the kind of record that my partner referred to as "Stormin'." Not bad, as a one word review. For this is the stormiest album I have heard in many a year and one which builds nicely on the band's 2010 outing, Absolute Dissent.