Killing Joke released their self-titled debut album in 1980. Opening Requiem starts with a pulsing keyboard before Kevin ‘Geordie’ Walker’s very post-punk, dark, insistent guitar riff, over Paul Ferguson’s pounding drums and Jaz Coleman’s bellowed vocals.
Little deviates from this style. Coleman’s vocals on Wardance are growled, almost strangled on the verse over Walker’s repetitive guitar. Tomorrow’s World is slower and more deliberate, with little variation, while instrumental Bloodsport has an almost disco pulse under the razor sharp guitars.
The Wait is heavier than anything that has gone before, the guitar riff hits just that bit harder and the drums pound just a little more, making for an exhilarating track, and Coleman produces a vocal which would find favour with the likes of The Cult’s Ian Astbury in years to come.
Many of the tracks have choruses consisting of one word repeated over and over, and Complications is typical of this, though it’s almost like a heavier version of very early Cure. After the lengthy, plodding S.O. 36 the album finishes with another excellent riff on Primitive.
This album is all about the guitars. You don’t hear this guitar sound mimicked too often these days.