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Released: 2012, Spinefarm US
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
In spite of frontman Jaz Coleman's eccentricities, or, perhaps, because of them, long-running English heavyweights Killing Joke remain as biting, relevant and apocalyptic as ever. MMXII (2012 in Roman numerals) pulsates with anti-government/corporate rage and end of the world prophesizing, among other things, that make it the perfect soundtrack to the U.S. presidential election cycle or — if you believe the Mayans — our imminent demise.
Especially prescient, given the recent Frankenstorm Sandy we just endured on the East Coast, are the climate-change harangue “Pole Shift” that opens the album and the harrowing “FEMA Camp,” which details the unfortunate consequence of post-Katrina relief efforts where displaced families got stuffed into mobile home compounds Coleman likens to concentration camps. Not a comforting thought for those who lost everything in Sandy.
“Rapture” and “Colony Collapse” echo similarly forboding themes and the self-explanatory “Corporate Elect” doesn’t offer much “hope” for “change” — to borrow common election campaign buzzwords. And with his eerily reasoned delivery, Coleman sounds anything but a crank or conspiracy theorist.
His professorial recitations are more charismatic and learned than heavy-handed here, and the band’s engaging, electronic-tinged hard rock adds just the right taste of sugar to help the medicine go down. The bouncy bottom end that drives much of the album has an almost disco-like feel, and Geordie Walker’s dense riffing is punctuated by one head-bobbing hook after another. Indeed, doomsday never sounded so good.
1. Pole Shift
2. FEMA Camp
4. Colony Collapse
5. Corporate Elect
6. In Cythera
10. On All Hallow's Eve
Jaz Coleman: vocals, synthesizer
Geordie Walker: guitar
Youth: bass, synthesizer
Paul Ferguson: drums
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