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Killing Joke - Brighter Than A Thousand Suns review


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Band: Killing Joke
Album: Brighter Than A Thousand Suns
Release date: 1986

01. Adorations
02. Sanity
03. Chessboards
04. Twilight Of The Mortal
05. Love Of The Masses
06. The Southern Sky
07. Victory
08. Wintergardens
09. Rubicon
10. Goodbye To The Village [bonus]
11. Exile [bonus]
12. Ecstasy [2007 Remaster bonus]
13. Adorations [Supernatural Mix version] [2007 Remaster bonus]
14. Sanity [Insane Mix version] [2007 Remaster bonus]

This review is of the 2007 Remastered release

In 1986 Killing Joke released their sixth album Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, hot off the heals of the mainstream attention grabbing Night Time. The new album had a polarizing effect on the fans, alienating many with its synth pop tendencies and conventional song writing. Gone were the monolithic harsh riffs, acerbic vocals and trance-inducing tribal drums: Brighter Than A Thousand Suns had a sound propelled forward by prominent keyboards and controlled, clean singing by Jaz Coleman. Recently, the band decided to re-release this wildcard of an album, but wait - there is a catch.

Brighter Than A Thousand Suns AD 2007 is a significantly modified version of the original. In 1986, the initial mixes by Chris Kimsey (who previously worked with the band on Night Time) were scrapped in favour of the more mainstream approach offered by Julian Mendelsohn, who is responsible for the original's unimposing sound. For the re-release, Killing Joke went back to the original Kimsey mixes and the difference is very noticeable. The guitars are now more prominent than the keyboards and Jaz Coleman's vocals no longer have that insanely high pitch that was so off putting in 1986. The bass sounds harsher and more lively, interacting with Walker's guitar in a way that is expected from a Killing Joke record, but that the original hid behind washes of synthesizer.

Brigther Than A Thousand Suns was not a bad album to begin with; however, these new mixes elevate most of the songs to classics in Killing Joke's repertoire. "Sanity" and "Love Of The Masses" have the same appeal as "Love Like Blood", while the funky "Victory" now really packs a punch instead of hitting like a girl. With the new sound, "Wintergardens" and "Rubicon" sound as aggressive as anything on Night Time, while the bonus tracks all show the band at the top of their game in terms of monotonous song writing that is used to achieve a perpetual feeling of elation.

The re-release of Brighter Than A Thousand Suns is an absolutely necessary record in any fan's collection, and with its harsher production should also appeal to a those simply curious about the band. The original made ripples in the dark wave scene, but this version is pure Killing Joke.


Written on 12.05.2008 by With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. He lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he does his best to avoid prosecution for being so cool.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 132 users
12.05.2008 - 23:06
I own the 1986 album, haven't listened to the re-release, i will give it a shot although, after all killing joke is a magnificent band! More keyboard driven back then, without the harsher edge of Coleman's voice indeed, Sanity and Rubicon are brilliant songs!
Dec. 30, 1334.

...And the whiskey and wine entered our veins when blood was too weak to carry on.
13.05.2008 - 13:57
Oh, ok, I might give it a shot then... I absolutely hated the original album because of the poppish sound and the vocals, so if they've changed that, it may be a good idea that I try it again
29.06.2010 - 21:12
Liver Failure
Now Im curious... I have never purchased this remastered version for expecting just a polished re-release of the same album.. looks like I was wrong.

The mainstream synthpop release of 86 was excellent btw.

member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/

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