Thursday, 11 January 2018

Killing Joke "Democracy" (1996)

Having spent time routing through old posts, writing up my favorite records of 2017, I am reminded of a few artists who discographies Ive been getting through on this blog but yet to make It over the finish line. Killing Joke's 10th record Democracy is the next in sequence and their final release before a temporary split leading to a lasting reunion seven years later. With the bands identity so ingrained in my mind its been hard to get into this record, simply because its not as unexpected or challenging as those classic early records. That being said Democracy is a solid record with firm theme and consistent tone that fully realizes its own vision.

Moving on from the metallic Pandemonium, Killing Joke trade in the tight and cleaner production for a denser, noisy affair more in turn with Extremites... Its loud, muddy and flavored by the smothering dissonance of layered guitars. Commanded by singer Jaz's dominant personality, he affronts the establishment, crying out at the facade of democracy and its influencers, criticizing the dull reality that a working class dream is of a paid mortgage. Its bleak and moody perspective on the follies of modern man are parallel to its foggy tone as big, mammoth wailing guitars plunder through the marching, pounding Industrial drive of drummer Dugmore.

Light electronics and occasional use of flange and phasers add some texture to the fold but it mostly goes through the motions with unchanging pace. The intensity varies from track to track but as the record stretches on it becomes somewhat monotone given its singular direction and droning nature. A lack of event or evolution holds it back but then that's never been the Killing Joke way, they once again home in on a feeling and grind it down in their Post-Punk alike noise guitars and churning Industrial pace. It ends up being a rather average album with a couple of more favorable songs.

Favorite Tracks: Prozac People, Aeon, Pilgrimage
Rating: 5/10