Killing Joke - Absolute Dissent review


56 users:
Band: Killing Joke
Album: Absolute Dissent
Release date: September 2010

01. Absolute Dissent
02. The Great Cull
03. Fresh Fever From The Skies
04. In Excelsis
05. European Super State
06. This World Hell
07. Endgame
08. The Raven King
09. Honour The Fire
10. Depthcharge
11. Here Comes The Singularity
12. Ghosts Of Ladbroke Grove

On 19 September 1987, during a typically rambling and insane lecture, Jaz Coleman warned his listeners of the impending awakening of the Elder Gods and the terrible apocalypse that is to follow. Mankind's sole means of countering a planetary invasion is through contact with the forgotten ones, gods that "dwell in the individual and irrational unconscious, (...) are the gods of survival, they are pre-rational, they are blind and immensely powerful, (...) their force manifested in man as hunger, the sex urge, the 'fight or flight' adrenaline reaction and the tribal cohesion factor". Killing Joke is therefore, of course, conceptually an attempt at summoning the forgotten ones to consciousness, releasing and consequently reabsorbing their force through comprehension.

With all of this in mind, Absolute Dissent, with its monumental cover artwork and inflated expectations is very much intended to be the ultimate attempt at magickal revolution that this band could muster at this time. Proclaiming a stance of ultimate counter-culture against the ideology-broadcasting majority, this album certainly is supposed to evoke feelings of grandeour and of rebellion of the most epic proportions. Unfortunately... it really doesn't manage to go this far. Here is Killing Joke, a band whose creative spark influenced everyone (Kirk Hammet, Kurt Cobain, Al Jourgensen, Trent Reznor, Mike Patton, countless others and more than likely, even your dog) and amidst the thundering production one can't help but notice that this spark is gone. Sure, most of the songs here are actually quite enjoyable: "The Great Cull" tramples all underfoot in a way that recalls "The Wait", whereas "Here Comes The Singularity" is propelled by an immediately addicitive vintage riff. The band's tribute to Paul Raven, "The Raven King" is a fantastically beautiful song held in the style of Brighter Than A Thousand Suns. Nevertheless, amongst these and some other highlights, there are also mediocre, uneventful and forgettable songs such as "Fresh Fever From The Sky", "This World Hell" and "Depthcharge". Paul Ferguson's amazing rhythmic talents are criminally under-used here - if a basic song like "European Super State" is so moving due to a focus on rhythm, just how amazing would a proper rhythmic workout have been? This is just one of the questions on one's mind while listening to Absolute Dissent, leading to the realization that while desperately still trying to sound fresh, Killing Joke is far too busy trying to please everyone. And how does a conformist attitude like this equal absolute dissent?

It doesn't. Hosannas From The Basement Of Hell, with it's cruel slabs of repetitive sludge took the band's vision to huge extremes, while Killing Joke 2003 was strikingly modern. Both of these albums were more relevant for their times than Absolute Dissent is for ours. These particular forgotten ones - Jaz Coleman, Geordie Walker, Martin "Youth" Glover and Paul Ferguson just sound a little tired and set in their ways. With this said, if we are to take this album simply as a collection of songs, its an enjoyable ride. It merely doesn't live up to Killing Joke's legend, myth and cult. Whether this is a problem is truly up to the listener to decide.


Written on 20.10.2010 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: 6   Visited by: 170 users
20.10.2010 - 18:52
Giant robot
"Ilham likes this."
20.10.2010 - 19:04
Ag Fox
Angel No More
Not a problem for me
loves 小巫
20.10.2010 - 22:06
Baz Anderson
Wasn't expecting a review like that from you...

I don't think a concious effort went into trying to make this album a "good" one. There is just more of the feeling of the band enjoying playing together again in their original line-up, making their music the way they used to... with more of a live studio sound, than the last two really clean and sensible albums.
23.10.2010 - 09:41
I will have to disagree with this review! I personally believe that this is actually a strong album, one that requires a couple listens to get used to
23.10.2010 - 20:26
Account deleted
I both agree and disagree, though the part that disagrees may just be ardent fanboyism. This isn't as strong as the previous two and it has a few dodgy songs that do not work in the overall context. It's still Killing Joke though.

Great review either way.
10.01.2011 - 20:05
Fire from Above
I got no problems and honestly their only Album wasn't hosanas from the basement of hell. They had other albums which were also just as good (Pandemonium, Killing Joke (both of them) , Night Time, Democracy, Fire Dances, Brighter than a thousand suns.... etc). Personally I feel they've been keeping up to pace with their music from Brighter than a Thousand suns. I also feel like they revisited songs from Democracy & and Killing Joke (self titled 2) pretty heavily from this to write the album.

Absolute Dissent is a solid album from this band and honestly this still shows their "alive and kicking". Killing Joke has always made their own little world out of what they are into playing. It's sorta part of the set up when they talk about this world in any way. I sorta see what you're saying with the whole deal of writing for everyone but the oppositional end would be that if you want to deal with complacent cultures (The USA for example) you'd have to explain things generally. I think the writing is more about fitting for the timeframe and message of the overall album. I guess I just see the wording differently in regard to owhay they're saying.

I really can't say this is a bad album from this band.
I know everyone likes a band for different reasons and that's legit. I also can't say that this album would detract from my killing joke opinion like that. For me it "upped" the deal with how I feel.

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