Quite frankly, ‘Pylon’ is more vital sounding than it has any right to be, considering Killing Joke formed in 1978.
The Notting Hill based outfit are one of those bands that are admired by fellow musicians but haven’t made the impact on the general public that you might think considering they’re credited with pioneering the ‘industrial rock’ sound popularised by Nine Inch Nails. Such rock royalty as Dave Grohl, Soundgarden and Metallica have also cited them as an influence.
‘Autonomous Zone’ sets the foreboding tone nicely, as the heavy guitars of Geordie Walker and snarling vocals of Jaz Coleman make their presence felt. ‘New Cold War’ is a monstrous stand-out, with atmospheric keyboard drones accompanying the chugging power chords and ‘Euphoria’ offers more of the same with a soaring chorus. It’s obvious that Killing Joke are a band that have honed their sound within an inch of its life, with their years of experience being put to good use. You get the sense there is a formula to their songwriting, for example a lot of the choruses consist of the song title being repeated, but when the end result is this potent its hard to care.
What strikes you most about ‘Pylon’ is how fresh it sounds, with songs like ‘War on Freedom’ and ‘Big Buzz’ displaying a surfeit of intensity and energy, not to mention massive hooks that put their younger rock peers to shame. They may be four decades into their career, but ‘Pylon’ proves Killing Joke have got plenty left in the tank.