Killing Joke - "MMXII" (CD)
"MMXII" track listing:
1. Pole Shift
2. Fema Camp
4. Colony Collapse
5. Corporate Elect
6. In Cythera
10. On All Hallow's Eve
Reviewed by buickmckane on April 20, 2013
Killing Joke’s album “MMXII” is not just a collection of songs back-to-back; it is a score to a 1980s sci-fi horror flick. The album tells the story of a group of teens called upon to save their town from an alien threat, or perhaps a lone citizen forced to kill the beast that’s rampaging through his isolated mid-western community. Describing the album as though it was used in certain scenes of a movie is the best way to explain its emotional qualities.
The first track “Pole Shift” immediately delves into the tone of this film. It’s ominous, but you know you will be entertained by the terrifying events about to unfold that were promised on the film’s flyer. This movie is trying to appeal to older teens by using Geordie Walker’s edgy and distorted guitars, but the film had enough cash for excellent production. Jaz Coleman sings cleanly and clearly, but slips into an aggressive raspy growl during the choruses. His voice is optimistic and hopeful, as it is also dramatic. There’s spacey keyboards that add a silvery, upbeat lining to the rocking guitars, but don’t get overly aggressive; they aren’t meant to scare you. And I swear that they are using the signature keyboard/piano bass line from the song “There’s A Light” from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” to add just a bit of weirdness. “
FEMA Camp” would be in the part of the film where the hero is crossing enemy lines to make the initial discovery of the coming threat; he combs through the crash site and sees the trail the thing left on its way to town. It’s creepy and anticipatory, and Jaz croons with a slight echo effect. “Corporate Elect” definitely moves away from the heavy synthesizers, although there are some that sound like a small horn section, and focus on rough guitar riffs to show the action of the city-wide panic and first casualties of the attack. This song would also be the entrance of the local bad boy who turns out to be more helpful in this situation than the star quarterback of the high school. Even though it has a more rock n’ roll attitude with prominent drums by Paul Ferguson and bass by Youth Glover, Jaz still just croons along, only adding a rougher edge during the chorus when his voice is more mixed in with the other instruments.
The following song “In Cythera” is the introspective scene where our heroines and survivors wonder why this is happening to them, and an unlikely romance begins to bloom. The music is close to new wave; somber, but with an upbeat tempo. Jaz sings, “I’ve seen you in a dream on a sunny day where the skies are clear. I’ll see you in Cythera on an island far away from here,” as our bad boy protagonist comforts the preppy girl heroine who is finding her inner strength through adversity. Then “Primobile” changes the tone again, as our group prepares for a final battle. The music has a dark and spooky keyboard riff below the surface of Jaz’s soft voice and Geordie’s minimal guitars. The next three songs tell about a great fight, but you’ll have to listen to the album yourself to hear how the story ends. I can tell you that it involves some disco and burlesque beats.
Killing Joke appealed to my nerdiness with this album. If you love 1980s horror flicks like “The Blob” remake, “Killer Klowns from Outer Space,” and “Night of the Comet,” this album will definitely intrigue. I feel as though I had watched one of those films by the time the album ended.
Highs: This is album is a fantastic movie score waiting to be put to film.
Lows: I wouldn't be able to listen to the songs separately; they work best as a unit.
Bottom line: Just sit back and watch the horror movie in your mind.
Get more info including news, reviews, interviews, links, etc. on our Killing Joke band page.