Killing Joke

The Scotsman - - Reviews - FIONA SHEP­HERD

Bar­row­land, Glas­gow

ARE they sooth­say­ers? Or merely ev­er­green pur­vey­ors of time­less geo-po­lit­i­cal an­thems? Ei­ther way, Killing Joke have a song for every oc­ca­sion.

“Are you en­joy­ing Brexit?” in­quired front­man Jaz Coleman with a glint in his eye, as a pre­lude to un­leash­ing their 1981 sin­gle Fol­low the Lead­ers, while his own am­biva­lence to­wards the EU was ev­i­dent in Euro­pean Su­per State, a trancey in­dus­trial an­them – be­cause all Killing Joke songs are an­thems at heart – with jagged in­ter­jec­tions from gui-

tarist Ge­ordie, whose ca­sual bril­liance re­mains a dynamic foil for Coleman’s wired de­range­ment.

Killing Joke don’t need an oc­ca­sion to jus­tify bring­ing the fire but it just so hap­pens that 2018 marks the 40th birth­day of a band which has threat­ened to pull it­self apart on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions but is now a thrilling jug­ger­naut cutting a swathe through un­cer­tain times.

The pug­na­cious punk of Eight­ies doesn’t sound like any ver­sion of the 1980s we might have been sold since, and a num­ber of other pa­gan punk num­bers from their early al­bums served as a re­minder that Killing Joke have al­ways been a band apart, draw­ing as much from the psychedel- ic prog rock of Hawk­wind as the an­i­mal­is­tic fury of punk.

With fuel to spare, they treated the mid­dle of their set like it was the end with the cli­mac­tic Labyrinth, then sim­ply re­grouped for the in­tense turbo charge of Cor­po­rate Elect. A su­perb Love Like Blood was ded­i­cated to their late bassist Paul Raven and the epic shamanic me­tal of Pan­de­mo­nium pushed this lat­est vi­tal dis­patch to a mighty crescendo.

Front­man Jaz Coleman and Killing Joke have an­thems for us

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