Who needs to review, like all Killing Joke albums, it speaks for itself; so that we can speak for ourselves! Technical geeks will try to take apart the mix, etc. etc., but what hails this work is Jaz Coleman’s obvious rage for life and determination to ‘gather’ us back to our natural human state (“part of us is animal; part of us is alien”). This album, like Killing Joke’s previous (studio) album, will free you from yourself if you give over to its passion without judgement or analysis… Hypnotic tribal thunder from liberated Brits now operating out of Prague for the benefit of the world!
There aren’t many bands who can still scare you after a quarter of a century. They either die, split or – worse – get all comfortable and at peace with themselves. There is no sight quite as sad as that of a once great edgy band from back in the day trotting through a selection of their greatest hits to a crowd of 40 year-olds who have left the kids with grandma for the night and driven on down to relive the days when they thought they would grow up to be dangerous. But Killing Joke aren’t going to be that kind of band and this isn’t that kind of show; they ARE still terrifying after all these years. This isn’t a nostalgia show: in fact their sheet-metal apocalyptic post-punk rage is more relevant than ever. There’s a direct line of descent from Killing Joke to Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson & Queens Of The Stone Age, and it’s all captured on this; their first Live CD.
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The playing is superb as one would expect from Killing Joke live. I saw them back in the 80’s in Geneva and they were fantastic. They apparently still are as we can hear here. The only problem is the slightly murky mix shich would have benefitted from more clarity. Anyway it is very good. They play with incredible energy.
Recorded during a series of performances celebrating the band’s 25th Anniversary in early 2005, “XXV Gathering: Let Us Prey” captures the then-reunited (and quite rejuvenated) Killing Joke in full flight, an almost overbearing entity that crackles with a tangible energy. Some of this is admittedly lost in translation onto media– there’s something about seeing the band that gets lost, particularly in the unusual presence of vocalist Jaz Coleman.
Still, it proves to be a pretty exciting set– a bit heavy on the band’s debut (5 tracks and a b-side are taken from that album), but still capturing a number of great performances– Coleman introduces “Wardance” (“We have so much work to do tonight– WARDANCE”) that cuts loose under its danceable frenzy, “Asteroid”, goofiest song in the band’s catalog, cuts loose and provides a slice of punky explosion, and the last half dozen pieces, regardless of whether high energy (“Pssyche”), slow grinding (“Pandemonium”) or tribally meditative (“Sun Goes Down”) are all pretty much universally fantastic.
Coleman does falll a bit flat on a couple of the early pieces (“Song and Dance” and “Primitive” both find the singer a bit thinner than you’d like), and the sound on the recording is muddy, and both of these temper my feelings on the recording, but this is a good performance and well worth investigation.
Live albums are always sketchy, and this one is no exception. The guitar is sometimes lost in the mix here, especially on Pandemonium (which is more suited to an openning song rather than the closing). And the tracklisting is not my favorite. Songs I really would’ve like to have on here:
Exorcism / Savage Freedom / Hollywood Babylon / Sanity / Money Is Not Our God / Inferno / Mathematics of Chaos / Whiteout / Change / Intellect / Millenium / Zennen / You’ll Never Get To Me / Kings & Queens
If you’re a huge fan, this will do better than some half-assed bootleg with the one drunk dude cheering over the whole thing. Otherwise… start with the proper albums.
P.S. – the Amazon tracklisting is WRONG (it can be so difficult to actually look at the product).
3. Song & Dance
5. Total Invasion
9. The Wait
11. The Pandys Are Coming
12. Sun Goes Gown
13. Are You Receiving?
14. Love Like Blood
I’ve seen this band 5 times, including right after the first Iraq War began in’90 and we stopped rioting long enough to attend. Paul Raven even remembered that show!
This show is even better! FEROCIOUS! My hair stands on end several times during the set. The new kid on drums is a big farmboy that beats up his kit like John Bonham. The dvd is astounding as well.
They are very focused right now, living in Prague and working on a new album. THESE TIMES WERE MADE FOR KILLING JOKE, AND THEY KNOW IT. Enjoy, they did!