Democracy (album)

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Democracy
Studio album by Killing Joke
Released 1 April 1996 (1996-04-01)
Genre Post-punk, industrial metal, industrial rock
Length 54:14
Label Big Life Records
Producer Youth
Killing Joke chronology
Pandemonium
(1994)
Democracy
(1996)
Killing Joke
(2003)
Singles from Democracy
  1. "Democracy"
    Released: 11 March 1996 (1996-03-11)

Democracy is the eleventh studio album of English post-punk group Killing Joke. It was released on CD in April 1996, and there was also a cassette version. A remastered CD with a remix of "Democracy" was released on 20 June 2005 by Cooking Vinyl. The title track was released as a single and reached the UK Top 40 (#39).

Recording and production[edit]

Hot on the heels of their successful 1994 Pandemonium album and tour, Killing Joke's members converged on the UK from their new-found homes in three continents, to hide away in Cornwall and Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, where the album was produced. Coleman had spent some time decompressing at the end of Pandemonium in Sedona, Arizona, where he had been inspired by the new interest in the native American culture, striking a chord with his previous involvement in Maori culture in New Zealand, where he had been settled for a short while.

A more optimistic and New Age tinged album lyrically, while keeping some of the weight and import of Pandemonium, the album marked the beginning of a more settled period for singer Jaz Coleman, who had by now also made considerable progress with his orchestral career. Production was overseen by Youth, with live session man Geoff Dugmore on drums. Synthesised textures from keyboardist Nick Holywell-Walker added to the concoction.

The album sessions culminated in a full-moon drumming fire ceremony on a small island on the river Thames at Henley, with Youth reportedly braving the murky waters for a naked swim. Democracy was mixed in Sarm West in London's Portobello Road towards the end of 1995, with the exception of the track "Savage Freedom" which was mixed at Butterfly Studios, Brixton, by celebrated British engineer/producer Ott. However, guitarist Geordie Walker has expressed disappointment with the resulting Democracy album. After a short tour in the summer of 1996, the band began their longest career hiatus to date, not reforming until 2002 and releasing their second eponymously titled album in 2003.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
Metal Storm (8.2/10)[2]

Jack Rabid of The Big Takeover called Democracy "Killing Joke's best album in 11 years", praising it for "return[ing] them to the assault and battery of their seminal, self-titled 1980 debut."[3] Adrien Begrand of PopMatters, however, felt the album sounded "watered down", saying: "Most noticeably, the acoustic guitar-driven title track sounds limp, the Joke a shadow of their former selves, and much of the rest of the album tends to sleepwalk in the same way".[4]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Coleman/Glover/Walker.

  1. "Savage Freedom" – 4:52
  2. "Democracy" – 3:39
  3. "Prozac People" – 6:54
  4. "Lanterns" – 4:53
  5. "Aeon" – 8:05
  6. "Pilgrimage" – 6:29
  7. "Intellect" – 4:00
  8. "Medicine Wheel" – 5:18
  9. "Absent Friends" – 5:40
  10. "Another Bloody Election" – 4:27
2005 CD reissue bonus track
  1. "Democracy" (The Russian Tundra Mix) – 17:52

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Year Chart Peak
position
1996 UK Albums Chart[5] 71

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Metal Storm review
  3. ^ Review Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover
  4. ^ Review Adrien Begrand, PopMatters
  5. ^ Chart Stats - Killing Joke. chartstats.com. Retrieved on 2010-07-05