Killing Joke (2003 album)

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This article is about the 2003 music album. For other uses, see The Killing Joke (disambiguation).
Killing Joke
Studio album by Killing Joke
Released July 28, 2003 (2003-07-28)
Recorded The Beauchamp Building, London, England
Genre Post-punk, hardcore punk, industrial metal, alternative metal
Length 59:28
Label Zuma Recordings
Producer Andy Gill, Youth
Killing Joke chronology
Killing Joke
Hosannas from the Basements of Hell
Singles from Killing Joke
  1. "Loose Cannon"
    Released: July 17, 2003 (2003-07-17)
  2. "Seeing Red"
    Released: October 6, 2003 (2003-10-06)

Killing Joke is the twelfth studio album by Killing Joke, released on July 28, 2003 by Zuma Recordings. Recording for the album in 2002 marked the end of a six-year hiatus that began in 1996 and it was Killing Joke's first studio album in seven years. Produced by Andy Gill of Gang of Four, the album featured long-time Killing Joke fan Dave Grohl on drums. This is also Killing Joke's second self-titled album, as an effect of the hiatus.

The song "The Death & Resurrection Show" was featured as part of the soundtrack of the video game Need for Speed Underground 2 and The Covenant movie soundtrack.


Vocalist Jaz Coleman and drummer Grohl originally intended to title the album Axis of Evil, in reference to the political lyrical themes: "It's the beginning of the American Empire. They're taking over the world. That's what's happening, and here we are at the heart of the fucking enemy. I never thought I'd see the day."[1] The Death & Resurrection Show, the title of the opening song on the album, was also a working title.[2]

Bassist Paul Raven had recently met Grohl, who expressed an interest in working with the band.[3] According to Coleman: "The original idea was to have three of our favorite drummers play on the album, Dave [Grohl] being one of them. We also wanted John [Dolmayan] from System of a Down and Danny [Carey] from Tool. But when Dave heard the songs, he said, 'I want the whole thing.'"[4] Dolmayan worked with the band during early recording sessions, but the drumming on the final album is entirely by Grohl.[5] Grohl declined to be paid for his work.[3]

Bass guitar is played by original member Youth, guitarist Geordie Walker, and other longtime bassist Paul Raven, who performed on the tour supporting the album. Walker claims to have played "half the bass on the record."[3]

During the recording of the song "Asteroid", Dave Grohl commented on the album:[6]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[7]
Metal Storm (9.2/10)[8]
Q Magazine 2/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[10]
Sputnikmusic 4/5 stars[11]
Stylus Magazine A−[12]
Dallas Music Guide 8/10 stars[13]
Rock Hard (de) 8.5/10[14]

Critical reaction to Killing Joke has been mostly positive. Outburn Magazine gave it a perfect 100 score, calling it "the most vicious album of the year." Billboard awarded it an 80 out of 100, noting that "Grohl's furious playing fits perfectly with the wall of rage erected by Joke vocalist Jaz Coleman and fellow founders Geordie Walker on guitar and Youth on bass." Justin Press of the Dallas Music Guide gave the album an 8 out of 10, saying: "Though not their best work (that still goes to Fire Dances), Killing Joke have provided an adrenaline shot to the nerve of thinking man's metal music."[15] In 2005, Killing Joke was ranked number 355 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[16]

John Robb of Playlouder said the album "may well be the best rock record you'll hear all year."[17] Alec A. Head of Satan Stole My Teddybear said, "One of the best albums of the year? Most definitely."[18] David Jeffries of Allmusic said, "While Killing Joke's discography has more than its fair share of awkward and overly ambitious albums, they've once again returned to the fury and focus of their classics."[19] Rolling Stone gave the album a 2 out of 5, saying that "all the humorless gloom and doom feels oppressive after a while." Q Magazine also gave a score of 2 out of 5, claiming that the album was "patchy."[20] The album holds a score of 79 out of 100 on Metacritic.[20]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "The Death & Resurrection Show"   Jaz Coleman Walker, Glover, Andy Gill 6:56
2. "Total Invasion"   Coleman Walker, Glover, Gill 5:28
3. "Asteroid"   Coleman Walker, Glover, Gill 3:24
4. "Implant"   Coleman Walker, Glover, Gill 5:18
5. "Blood On Your Hands"   Coleman Walker, Glover, Gill 6:00
6. "Loose Cannon"   Coleman Walker, Glover, Gill 4:12
7. "You'll Never Get To Me"   Coleman Walker, Glover, Gill 6:19
8. "Seeing Red"   Coleman Walker, Glover, Gill 5:27
9. "Dark Forces"   Coleman Walker, Glover, Gill 6:26
10. "The House That Pain Built"   Coleman Walker, Glover, Gill 6:13
US CD Bonus release

The US CD Bonus release included a new recording of "Wardance," which had originally appeared on the band's first self-titled album.

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
11. "Wardance"   Coleman Coleman, Walker, Glover, Paul Ferguson 3:49
UK CD Bonus release

The UK CD Bonus release included the song "Inferno" which was previously unreleased.

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
11. "Inferno"   Coleman Walker, Glover, Gill 3:38
Japanese CD Bonus release

The Japanese CD Bonus release included the song "Inferno", but also included the song "Zennon", which was featured on the "Loose Cannon" DVD.

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
11. "Inferno"   Coleman Walker, Glover, Gill 3:38
12. "Zennon"   Coleman Walker, Glover, Gill 5:38


Killing Joke
Additional Personnel
  • Andy Gill - additional guitar feedback, rhythm producer
  • Katie Summers - voice on track 2


Chart (2003) Peak
UK Albums Chart 43
U.S. Billboard Top Independent Albums[21] 30
German Album Charts[22] 65
France[23] 108
Netherlands[24] 100


  1. ^ Conspiracy of Two Kerrang magazine, 12 April 2003
  2. ^ "Nirvana Pay Back Killing Joke" Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna, Rolling Stone, 10 April 2003
  3. ^ a b c RIPPING YARNS Jenny Knight, Guitar UK, 2003
  4. ^ Knock 'em Dead: Killing Joke's Ghoulish Rock has the Last Laugh Jason Heller, Denver Westword, 30 October 2003
  5. ^ TENSION MAKES THE JOKE WORK Murray Engleheart, Drum Media, 4 November 2003
  6. ^ "Jaz Coleman & Dave Grohl- On Studio 2003" on YouTube Feb. 11, 2009
  7. ^ Allmusic review
  8. ^ Metal Storm review
  9. ^ Q Magazine review
  10. ^ Rolling Stone review
  11. ^ Sputnikmusic review
  12. ^ Stylus Magazine review
  13. ^ Dallas Music Guide review
  14. ^ Stratmann, Holger. "Rock Hard review". issue 195. Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  15. ^ Killing Joke (2003) review Justin Press, Dallas Music Guide, 14 July 2003
  16. ^ [...], Rock Hard (Hrsg.). [Red.: Michael Rensen. Mitarb.: Götz Kühnemund] (2005). Best of Rock & Metal die 500 stärksten Scheiben aller Zeiten. Königswinter: Heel. p. 68. ISBN 3-89880-517-4. 
  17. ^ "Killing Joke: The Last Laugh" John Robb, Playlouder, 26 July 2003
  18. ^ Review by Alec A. Head Satan Stole My Teddybear
  19. ^ Review by David Jeffries Allmusic
  20. ^ a b "". Accessed November 27, 2008
  21. ^ Billboard Albums. Allmusic. Chart information courtesy of © 2006 VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved. Retrieved on 2010-07-05.
  22. ^ "". Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  23. ^ "Discographie Killing Joke". Retrieved on 2010-07-05.
  24. ^ " - Dutch charts portal". Retrieved 2010-07-07.