Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Killing Joke - "BBC In Concert" CD

This rare and long out-of-print live album documents the band's 1986 Reading Festival appearance (and three cuts from a 1985 gig in London, oddly). Though it's certainly not essential, it is a curiosity for serious fans.

The "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns" era, which this disc captures, saw the band in the middle of it's much-berated bloated synth-pop faze, with excessive keyboards dominating the mix (sometimes at the expense of Geordie's guitars), and Jaz's melodic vocals becoming more prominent. Old-time punk fans screamed "sellout" -- and that didn't seem too far from the truth. The band's smoothed-out studio sound isn't quite as evident here, fortunately, as the Joke do parade out classics like "Requiem", "Complications", "Wardance", and "Tension". On the other hand, we may never again hear a live version of "Sanity", and tracks like "Twilight Of The Mortals", "Chessboards", or "Love Of The Masses" are hardly live staples, either. 

So, to sum this one up, it's a decent period piece for collectors, but anyone else is urged to avoid this one, and pick up more representative live KJ albums like "Ha!" or the massive 4xCD set, "The Gathering 2008", either of which possess prime Killing Joke wallop and vitriol. (Windsong International)

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