Steadily working my way through the Killing Joke discography we arrive at the bands forth "Fire Dances". At this point I'm starting to wonder if I've heard the best of what they have to offer, however the next record includes two classics. "Love Like Blood" and the song some say Nirvana ripped of "Eighties". Unfortunately the progression to that point has yet to begun with this album mostly toying with the same ideas "Revelations" explored. A touch better overall it suffers from the same flaws as its predecessor. Even though I wouldn't rave about this release, I have to say Killing Joke do a great job at creating an original sound. When its fresh it has its charm but quickly tires as a session draws on.
The opener "The Gathering" gets things charged up with a rampant tom snare beat that glimmers an inkling of hope for another "Tension". Unfortunately the guitars are set on exploring discordant rumbling noises and creating a paranoid, nightmarish semblance. The baseline holds it together with solid melody line and the song experiments with some harsher noises groaning into the landscape. Much of the record follows this formula, tribal primitive drum pound and throb there way through drizzling distortions and nonsensical riffage that doesn't offer much in the way of song structure or progression and the bass guitar is often the only comforting outlet in a maddening climate.
Obviously its the point of this record. Much better than "Revelations" did, "Fire Dances" clearly establishes its vibe of mental insanity and playful madness no thanks to singer Jaz who seems to be enjoying his performances, flamboyant, theatrical and jester-like one can picture him dancing in front of the fire. Records that play with any theme can easily engulf you in it, regardless of if it borders on morose. There are moments where the band achieve this and their unusual riffs and style come off well, however it was to little as a whole. I'm left with an odd appreciation for this record. Its not one I wish to listen to often however it fills the gaps of experimentation that has led to a lot of extreme music I listen to today.
Favorite Song: Harlequin, Dominator, Lust Almighty