MMXII by Killing Joke – CD review
The new MMXII album by the English post-Punk, New Wave, Industrial, neo-Gothic, Alternative Rock band Killing Joke is a welcome return to form by this influential music group, first formed in Notting Hill, West London back in 1978, by Jeremy ‘Jaz’ Coleman (vocals, keyboards), Kevin ‘Geordie’ Walker (lead guitars), Martin ‘Youth’ Glover (bass guitars) and ‘Big’ Paul Ferguson (drums and percussion). I first saw Killing Joke on BBC Television’s Top of the Pops and Channel 4’s The Tube music programmes, with their hit single Love Like Blood. In the 1990s I corresponded with KJ’s O.D.I.C. (the Order of the Distant Island Charter) ‘fan club’, named after the mysterious Odic Force, the vital energy or life force permeating all Nature, discovered by Baron Karl Von Reichenbach in Germany during the mid-19th Century, and named after the God of Northern mythology, Odin.
I have met the since sadly deceased former Killing Joke bass player Paul Raven after a show at the Astoria Theatre, London and I met Geordie after a ‘secret’ gig at The Underworld, Camden in 2003. Recently I was privileged to watch KJ play live at the Royal Festival Hall and The Roundhouse, London (the Roundhouse gig was threatened by ‘human rights’ gay activist Peter Tatchell due to the band describing Boy George as ‘fag music’ – Killing Joke certainly have a sense of humour!). Killing Joke have grown in power and strength since their early days when they used to play to a handful of punks at the Hope and Anchor pub in Islington!
Killing Joke have never shied away from courting controversy such as using Nazi imagery to provoke a reaction, and have been labelled as ‘Fascists’ by some Liberal-Left leaning sections of the music press. (Killing Joke fan David Bowie was similarly attacked by Rock Against Racism in the 1970s, for stating in interviews that “Hitler was the first rock star…England needs a Fascist Leader,”). In fairness, let Killing Joke speak for themselves:
“The new album is a lot more humane I think in its Fascism.” – Big Paul
“Democracy for me is the epitome of confusion…I wouldn’t say we are Fascist. We work as a team in Killing Joke. We are extremists in what we do because we are so committed to what we do, regardless of what people say.” – Jaz
“We’re very democratic in our Fascism.” – Geordie
Interestingly there is a link to the Killing Joke website on the site of New Right Organising Secretary, Troy Southgate’s National-Anarchist Movement (N-AM). In Jaz Coleman’s book An Irrational Domain he recounts his visits to Iceland during 1982, to work with local Odinists. In A.I.D. and interviews Jaz mentions his and Big Paul’s sympathy for the Palestinian cause and hostility to Judaism and Zionism, and identification with “the magical Indo-Aryan relationship between Man and Nature.” Jaz has also researched Occultism, Gnosticism and high caste Indo-Aryan Hindu mythology, and has become an (unorthodox!) Priest of a Church in New Zealand. He has written a classical piece called Idavoll about Norse mythology, and an opera about the legend of the marriage of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdelene was performed at Covent Garden, London a few years ago. I am also intrigued by Christ’s statement in the New Testament: “Ye are gods” (John 10:34), which is paralleled by the Occultist dictum: “Man is god.”
Jaz’s father the late Ron Coleman was an Executive Committee member of the Simon de Montfort Society, dedicated to the memory of the Earl of Leicester, who has been attacked by the politically correct for alleged ‘Anti-Semitism’. Jaz is also an admirer (like J.J. Burnel of The Stranglers, the popular Punk, New Wave band) of Japanese National Revolutionary author Yukio Mishima, who committed ritual suicide in the traditional Samurai fashion rather than surrender, when his Tatenokai (Anti-Communist Shield Society) coup d’etat in Tokyo, failed to herald a reborn New Order, in ‘The Land of the Rising Sun’. Troy Southgate’s Black Front Press imprint has published an excellent new book Mishima: Thoughts and Perspectives.
My favourite songs from Killing Joke’s new MMXII CD album are Fema Camp (about America’s internment camps for dissidents. Jaz has said he believes 9/11 was “an inside job”), Rapture, Corporate Elect, In Cythera, Glitch and On All Hallows’ Eve. Here are some of the highlights:
“It’s a time of unrest and your rights are suspended. There’s a list going round and it’s likely you’re on it.” – Fema Camp
“Grand Masters pulling the strings. Wet dream of a New World Order…We all got fooled again…This is the fight back now. Free speech put to the test by immoral psychopaths. We all got fooled again.” – Corporate Elect
“The graveyards forgotten, the churches are empty now. I recall the times past and how much I miss you all. Wake up! Reborn! Join in and celebrate. Make noise!…On All Hallow’s Eve.” – On All Hallow’s Eve
I also like Killing Joke’s early albums such as Killing Joke (1980), Revelations (1982), Fire Dances (1983), Night Time (1985 – with the classic songs Kings and Queens and Europe lyrics: “A Black Sun is rising as the gods of Europe sleep. The place I love so butchered, ravaged, scarred and raped. Still we’re fighting till green lands shall again be in sight. Glory, glory how we watch in Europe. Glory, glory how we wait in Europe!”), Brighter Than A Thousand Suns (1986) and Extremities (1990).
The new KJ album is marked out by Geordie’s familiar, unique and unorthodox axe-grinding guitar riffs, Youth’s deep bass lines, Big Paul’s tribal drumming and where would a Killing Joke album be without Jaz’s doom-laden prophetic vocals? KJ demolish the mediocrities of the music charts! I recommend the Joke’s videos on the Youtube website. If you ever have the opportunity of seeing KJ play live, grab it with both hands and enjoy a night of fun, fire, force, laughter and Killing Joke!
Reviewed by Ian Webb, London, England