Watch the world burn
dB Rating: 9/10
Release Date: October 23rd, 2015
Killing Joke has been such a vital creative force in the past decade-plus that it bears mentioning that their musical journey started when disco was culturally relevant and Jimmy Carter was president. What’s more, the Killing Joke that came out of hibernation in 2002 was arguably a better and more aggressive band than the one that recorded our Hall of Fame-certified debut. Like Napalm Death, the elder statesmen of grind, Killing Joke might age, but in no way do they grow stagnant; Pylon, their 16th studio album, is another near-masterpiece and apocalyptic clarion call from the four soothsayers of extreme music.
What makes Pylon different from its predecessor that the somewhat hopeful tone of MMXII is gone. Jaz Coleman reasoned on MMXII that it didn’t matter if there was a catastrophic pole shift, that mankind would somehow endure. He even penned a lovely tribute song to New Zealand. Pylon sees the return of the Jaz Coleman ready to wait out the apocalypse in Iceland, the crazed street prophet and frontman.
Pylon is a desperate record, more scream than stoic acceptance. “Autonomous Zone” has the same urgency as post-2000 highlights “Asteroid” and “Implant,” with the industrial touches of Hosannas From the Basement of Hell. Youth’s riffs and Coleman’s clean voice mesh perfectly on “Dawn of the Hive,” and “Euphoria” has the fleeting ethereal quality of “Love Like Blood.” Pylon is the perfect marriage of the dystopic leanings of Absolute Dissent, the bluster of their self-titled comeback and the beauty of Night Time. It’s a distillation of all the elements that make Killing Joke special.
The fact that an iconic band like Killing Joke is still playing and performing together with their original lineup is a gift. That they continue to produce music this moving well into the new century is something like divine intervention. Pylon is another masterstroke by one of the best bands of our time.
—Justin M. Norton
Review originally printed in the December 2015 issue (#134).