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Singles Collection (1979-2012)

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Album Review

Post-punk, apocalyptic, able to serve up some biting social commentary, and all while doing it so thunderously they seem on the very edge of heavy metal, veteran U.K. band Killing Joke get the simple chronological overview on The Singles Collection: 1979-2012, a set that does just what it says on the tin. The 1980 single "Change" is missing, but otherwise, their prime 7"s are knocked off in order with giant numbers like "Eighties," "Wardance," "Requiem," and "Love Like Blood" coming off as classic and essential. All of these greats land on the first disc, which covers the golden years of 1979-1988, but disc two's covering of 1990-2012 is quite helpful for the casual fan, who can now catch up with some prime material that was released as the band flew underneath the mainstream's radar. That said, disc two does some revisionist history with non-singles like "Ghosts of Ladbroke Grove" landing on the track list, and when it comes to the physical release, the booklet is an afterthought, filled with tiny pictures of the 7" releases and some quick, kind essays. Killing Joke have always been more of an "album band" anyway and their large, rich discography calls for overviews much bigger in size than this. Still, it is interesting to look at the epic, ambitious group by their attempts to cross over, and while not all singles were as worthy as the album cuts, this alternative view has some massive high points.

Customer Reviews


Superb compilation. It shows the different styles they have adopted over the years and listening to this makes you realise what a hugely influential and sadly under rated Killing Joke are.

An Uncompromising National Institution

I was never a huge of early KJ - some exceptions like Pssyche - and then like most of us along came Night Time and all that changed. I actually loved Brighter Than A Thousand Suns which I can understand was probably viewed as sacrilege by early fans. Very melodic, proper singing , and a wall of sound Phil Spector would be proud of.
Then along came Outside The Gate and I lost interest.
But then came the Golden Dawn of a few years later of barking vocals, ferocious riffs, and intelligent, belligerent lyrics and you couldn't help but marvel at their single-mindedness of a solid middle finger to all doubters and detractors.
There are truly some moments of aural equivalents of being beaten soundly with 10 baseball bats and wakening up to also having a vague memory of some important political and social issues being part of that mauling along the way. They are truly astounding at times and I'm personally proud of them being unique to our shores.
I just think they are geting better and better quite frankly. They are the only band I can listen to thsat have this intensity and power. Pandemonium, Fever In The Skies, In Excelsis, need I go on ?
And they were apparently not happy with the last couple of albums ?? Gulp. What on earth have they got in mind.
Utterly brilliant.


Formed: 1978

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Heavy and slow, Killing Joke (at least early in their career) were a quasi-metal band dancing to a tune of doom and gloom. They eventually became less heavy and more arty (the latter seems almost impossible) -- more danceable, even -- but early on they made some urgent slabs of molten dynamite that oozed with the power of thick guitars, thudding drums, and over the top singing. The origins of Killing Joke lie in the Matt Stagger Band. Paul Ferguson was drumming for the group when he met Jaz Coleman...
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