Independent outlook /// Killing Joke ‘The Singles Collection 1979 – 2012’

Killing Joke

Longevity, staying afloat in music over the course of many years is a hard, but after all an extremely rewarding thing. Having formed in 1978 in London, Killing Joke have been through numerous line-up changes, severe hardships, dark times and hiatus. They had to take the rough with the smooth, but still persevered. What really mattered and still does is their music: Killing Joke have not only created a huge valuable back catalogue of records full of engaging listen, but also been a great influence for a big number of renowned bands. To celebrate 35 years of their amazing career Killing Joke have released ‘The Singles Collection 1979-2012’ which is a great overview of the band’s ever-evolving and magnetic sound.

Killing Joke’s history is closely reflected in their music: the sound metamorphosis are a precise mirror of the band’s creative state at the time of a certain release. Just like ‘Nervous System’ was the introduction to Killing Joke back in 1979, it’s also the opener of the collection. The song was their first single leaning to a fusion of punk and electronics that rocked the boat of music world with its novelty and rebellion. It was the beginning of the sound destined to evolve a lot over the course of following 35 years. By the mid 80s it had gradually grown more urgent, aggressive and this urgency defined, shaped Killing Joke’s signature sound at that time. Even though the band introduced various influences ranging from gothic, industrial to alternative and even flirted with dance beats on ‘Eighties’ or ‘Let’s All Go (To The Fire Dances)’, Killing Joke’s music appealed to fans of punk, metal and rock alike – so diverse and unique it was that people found it easy to relate to it.

Killing Joke’s hour of triumph came when they released the renowned single ‘Love Like Blood’ which brought them high positions in charts and was the embodiment of the band’s sound then. It hasn’t changed much though: this track is still considered among the best songs Killing Joke have ever written. However, by the end of the 80s the collective started toying with more synth and electronics arrangements which led to several years full of controversy covering the end of the 80s and the very beginning of the 90s. The band were searching for some new side to their sound, but that was a bitter pill to swallow: such singles as ‘America’ caused worryingly negative reactions from the music community sounding nothing like Killing Joke’s earlier works.

Apparently Killing Joke didn’t lose the grip then though. Just like Phoenix they rose again at the beginning of the 90s with ‘Money Is Not Our God’ which saw the return of the band’s signature aggressive, raw, furious sound which has been on the up-and-up since then with the likes of ‘Democracy’, ‘Loose Cannon’ or ‘Corporate Elect’ seeing the band champion their signature live-infused, very natural and progressive sound – aggressive as never before.

Killing Joke still have what it takes to excite the minds of music listeners and surprise them with the unique character of their music. The 33-force single collection is a great display of the band’s sound evolution, a look back into the past and a canvas of their previous creative work. This collection will get you through early days of Killing Joke, their evolution, experiments and then going back up to the top of fury and aggression. Full of real gems, these are the songs still relevant today and, with a new album in prospect, this compilation is a great way to refresh your memory before Killing Joke’s new strike.



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