Killing Joke is one of those bands that I would see referenced every once in awhile in music magazines, but I never really tracked down what they were about or heard what they sounded like. From what I gathered they were an early ’80s political punk band along the lines of TSOL. My first real exposure didn’t come until the mid ‘90s with the release of the industrial rock album ‘Pandemonium’. ‘Pandemonium’, I assumed was an old punk band’s attempt to capitalize on industrial music that NIN had recently popularized. I should have known that the album was far too good to be a ham-fisted slab of opportunism. As it turns out, Killing Joke was a massive influence on NIN as well as on Nirvana. Nirvana even purportedly lifted some of their trademark riffs from old Killing Joke songs. Killing Joke’s ‘Pandemonium’ along with ‘Only Heaven’ by The Young Gods, another band that seemed to come out of nowhere, make up, in my mind, the last class of great industrial releases.

Killing Joke in their original line-up played two shows in NYC, the first night featuring their two earliest albums in their entirety, ‘Killing Joke’ and ‘What’s This…For!’ and the second night featuring ‘Pandemonium’ and early singles. I went to the later, but really wished I had gone to both. I look forward to investigating their earlier albums and certainly hope they are recording a new one.
[audio:|titles=Pandemonium (Live)|artists=Killing Joke]
Download: Killing Joke – Pandemonium (Live)

Pic take by Tim Griffin for Brooklyn Vegan.


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  2. KJ are a great band. I was introduced to them in the mid to late 80s but did not get a chance to see them until Jan ’91 when they came through Dallas. They were definitely worth the wait. They played a small club to about 100 people during an icestorm. I’ve not seen them since but I really wanted to catch them on their most recent tour. You’re a lucky one.

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