Killing Joke
MMXII

(Universal)

Verdict:

The end is nigh, again

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A band who is about to notch up 35 years in the business isn't really meant to get better at what they do. Traditionally it's more about keeping the ship steady and hopefully producing the occasional moments of old magic. But Killing Joke - the influential London post-punk band led by British-born New Zealander Jaz Coleman - keep getting better.

After a number of patchy albums in the early period of their career, their four albums since 2003, including latest MMXII, can't be faulted. Though nothing is ever likely to match the primal power of their self-titled debut from 1980.

MMXII - featuring the reunited original Killing Joke line-up - is typically political and agitating, with a focus on 2012's end-of-times prophecies. But never fear, because while the music sounds like the ultimate soundtrack to doom and gloom, there are many hopeful moments, like the sweet synth-driven strains of In Cythera about "an island faraway from here" which is surely a nod to Aotearoa. And MMXII is also more even-tempered than the last three records which gives it a more refined and intriguing presence rather than being a brash ear-bashing courtesy of Coleman's bruising larynx.

It's a towering record, from the mantra-like On All Hallows Eve to the spewing rage of Glitch, which is industrial metal the way it's meant to be played. That is, loud, grinding, and relentless.

- TimeOut