Album Review: Killing Joke – “Pylon”
Now well into their fourth decade as a band, it only takes a minute or so of the bleak atmospherics of opener Autonomous Zone for you to realise that Killing Joke are still blazing their own trail with as much fervent determination as ever. And when Dawn Of The Hive follows it with a typically uncompromisingly vicious riff from Geordie Walker, before Jaz Coleman’s “prophet of doom” vocals kick in, you realise it’s going to be anything but comfortable listening.
I guess I can safely say that Killing Joke are very much an acquired taste as a band, and much like its predecessors MMXII, Absolute Dissent and Hosannas From The Basement Of Hell, Pylon is dark, menacing and totally uncompromising. With all but two of the ten tracks here clocking in at five minutes plus, this is also a very complex album. But locked within those dark grooves are some deceptively enticing earworms – New Cold War builds from an almost techno-rock start to a big spiralling chorus, while the strings backing the pummelling riff of Euphoria (which has echoes of the classic Love Like Blood) are definitely a bit unexpected.
Overall, if you’re not a fan of Killing Joke then I very much doubt that Pylon will be the album to change your mind. But there’s plenty here to keep their numerous fans happy, and the fact that this album has given their highest charting release for over 20 years suggests that number is still pretty damn healthy all these years on.
I wouldn't recommend this album as a starting point for those looking to get into Killing Joke (if that comment applies to you, then I'd suggest checking Night Time and Fire Dances out first and taking it from there) but if, like me, you're a longstanding fan then Pylon is a very worthwhile addition to their canon. Dark, menacing and ominous, but surprisingly listenable with it, this is Jaz Coleman and co firing on all cylinders and making one hell of an addictively doomy racket.