Killing Joke (2003 album)

Killing Joke is the eleventh studio album by English rock band Killing Joke. It was released on 28 July 2003 by Zuma Recordings, making it their first album in seven years, following Democracy (1996). It is also their second self-titled album, following their first in 1980. Recording for the album took place at the Beauchamp Building in London in 2002. It marked the end of a six-year hiatus that began in 1996. Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, who is a long-time Killing Joke fan, performed drums on the album. It was produced by Gang of Four band member Andy Gill. The album peaked at number 43 in the UK.

Killing Joke
Killing Joke 2003 album
Studio album by Killing Joke
Released 28 July 2003
Recorded 2002–03
Studio The Beauchamp Building
(London, England)
Length 59:28
Label Zuma
Producer Andy Gill
Killing Joke chronology
Killing Joke
Hosannas from the Basements of Hell
Singles from Killing Joke
  1. "Loose Cannon"
    Released: 17 July 2003
  2. "Seeing Red"
    Released: 6 October 2003

Background and recording

Vocalist Jaz Coleman and Dave Grohl originally intended to title the album Axis of Evil, in reference to the political lyrical themes: "It's the beginning of the American Empire. They're taking over the world. That's what's happening, and here we are at the heart of the fucking enemy. I never thought I'd see the day."[1] The Death & Resurrection Show, the title of the opening song on the album, was also a working title.[2]

Bassist Paul Raven had recently met Grohl, who expressed an interest in working with the band.[3] According to Coleman, "The original idea was to have three of our favourite drummers play on the album, Dave [Grohl] being one of them. We also wanted John [Dolmayan] from System of a Down and Danny [Carey] from Tool. But when Dave heard the songs, he said, 'I want the whole thing'".[4] Dolmayan worked with the band during early recording sessions, but the drumming on the final album is entirely by Grohl.[5] Grohl declined to be paid for his work.[3]

Bass guitar is played by original member Youth, guitarist Geordie Walker, and other longtime bassist Paul Raven, who performed on the tour supporting the album. Walker claims to have played "half the bass on the record. "[3]

During the recording of the song "Asteroid", Dave Grohl commented on the album:

It's the first record I've ever done where the drums come last. Usually drums are first. It's nice, though, because once you put the drums down and all the percussion is done and everything, it's done. You have a finished song. And also, all the programming and stuff that Andy is doing, the rhythms that they came up with are great. It's not conventional "rock drumming", it's not like conventional rock rhythms. It's challenging. Everything is a challenge.[6]

The album was produced by Andy Gill of Gang of Four.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[8]
Alternative Press5/5 stars[9]
Blender3.5/5 stars[10]
Entertainment Weeklyfavourable[11]
Mojo4.5/5 stars[12]
Q2/5 stars[13]
Rock Hard8.5/10[14]
Rolling Stone2/5 stars[15]
Uncut4/5 stars[17]

Critical reaction to Killing Joke has been mostly positive. It currently holds a 79/100 approval rating on review aggregator website Metacritic, based on fifteen reviews.[7]

Billboard awarded it an 80 out of 100, noting that "Grohl's furious playing fits perfectly with the wall of rage erected by Joke vocalist Jaz Coleman and fellow founders Geordie Walker on guitar and Youth on bass". John Robb of Playlouder wrote that the album "may well be the best rock record you'll hear all year".[18] David Jeffries of AllMusic wrote "While Killing Joke's discography has more than its fair share of awkward and overly ambitious albums, they've once again returned to the fury and focus of their classics".[8]

A negative review came from Rolling Stone, who awarded the album 2 stars out of 5 and wrote that "all the humorless gloom and doom feels oppressive after a while".[15] Q also gave a score of 2 out of 5, claiming that the album was "patchy".[13]

In 2005, Killing Joke was ranked number 355 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[19]

Track listing

All lyrics written by Jaz Coleman; all music composed by Geordie Walker, Youth and Andy Gill.

1."The Death & Resurrection Show"6:56
2."Total Invasion"5:28
5."Blood on Your Hands"6:00
6."Loose Cannon"4:12
7."You'll Never Get to Me"6:19
8."Seeing Red"5:27
9."Dark Forces"6:26
10."The House That Pain Built"6:13
US CD bonus track
11."Wardance" (re-recording)Coleman, Walker, Glover, Paul Ferguson3:49
UK CD bonus track
Japan CD bonus tracks


Killing Joke

Additional personnel

  • Andy Gill – additional guitar feedback, rhythm producer
  • Katie Summers – voice on track 2


Chart (2003) Peak
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[20] 100
French Albums (SNEP)[21] 108
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[22] 65
Scottish Albums (OCC)[23] 50
UK Albums (OCC)[24] 43
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[25] 30


  1. ^ "Conspiracy of Two". Kerrang!. 12 April 2003. Archived from the original on 9 February 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  2. ^ Borzillo-Vrenna, Carrie (10 April 2003). "Nirvana Pay Back Killing Joke". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 9 September 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Guitar UK". Archived from the original on 7 September 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  4. ^ Heller, Jason (30 October 2003). "Knock 'em Dead: Killing Joke's Ghoulish Rock Has the Last Laugh". Denver Westword. Colorado, United States. Archived from the original on 9 February 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  5. ^ Engleheart, Murray (4 November 2003). "Tension Makes the Joke Work". Drum Media. Archived from the original on 9 September 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  6. ^ "Jaz Coleman & Dave Grohl – On Studio 2003 – YouTube". YouTube. 25 January 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Reviews for Killing Joke [2003] by Killing Joke – Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  8. ^ a b Jeffries, David. "Killing Joke [2003] – Killing Joke | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  9. ^ "[Killing Joke review]". Alternative Press: 116. October 2003.
  10. ^ "[Killing Joke review]". Blender: 118. October 2003.
  11. ^ "Killing Joke |". Entertainment Weekly. 15 August 2003. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  12. ^ "[Killing Joke review]". Mojo: 103. August 2003.
  13. ^ a b "[Killing Joke review]". Q: 102. September 2003.
  14. ^ Stratmann, Holger. "[Killing Joke review]". Rock Hard (195). Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  15. ^ a b "[Killing Joke review]". Rolling Stone: 74. 18 September 2003.
  16. ^ Mathers, Ian (14 October 2003). "Killing Joke – Killing Joke – Review – Stylus Magazine". Stylus. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  17. ^ "[Killing Joke review]". Uncut: 102. September 2003.
  18. ^ Robb, John (26 July 2003). "Killing Joke: The Last Laugh". Playlouder. Archived from the original on 9 February 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  19. ^ [...], Rock Hard (Hrsg.). [Red.: Michael Rensen. Mitarb.: Götz Kühnemund] (2005). Best of Rock & Metal die 500 stärksten Scheiben aller Zeiten. Königswinter: Heel. p. 68. ISBN 3-89880-517-4.
  20. ^ " – Killing Joke – Killing Joke %5B2003%5D" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  21. ^ " – Killing Joke – Killing Joke %5B2003%5D". Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  22. ^ " – Killing Joke – Killing Joke [2003]" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  23. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  24. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  25. ^ "Killing Joke Chart History (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 30 November 2017.

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