Democracy (album)

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Killing Joke - Democracy-cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released1 April 1996 (1996-04-01)
GenreIndustrial rock, post-punk
LabelBig Life
Killing Joke chronology
Killing Joke
Singles from Democracy
  1. "Democracy"
    Released: 11 March 1996

Democracy is the tenth studio album by English rock band Killing Joke. It was released on 1 April 1996 by record label Big Life.

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.[citation needed] 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 Māori culture in New Zealand, where he had been settled for a short while.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] Production was overseen by Martin "Youth" Glover, with live session musician 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] However, guitarist Geordie Walker has expressed disappointment with the resulting Democracy album.[citation needed]

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.


Democracy was released on 1 April 1996 by Youth's record label Butterfly Records in conjunction with Big Life, on CD and cassette. It reached number 71 in the UK Albums Chart.[1]

One single, the title track "Democracy", was released on 11 March 1996. It reached number 39 in the UK Singles Chart.[1]

The album was reissued in remastered form in February 2008 by Let Them Eat Vinyl, featuring a bonus track, a remix of "Democracy".


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[2]
Entertainment WeeklyC+[3]
MusicHound Rock3.5/5 stars[4]
Rock Hard9.0/10.0[6]
Trouser Pressunfavourable[7]

Critical response to Democracy has been generally mixed. Adrien Begrand of PopMatters commented that on the album "the band sounds watered down".[5] Trouser Press called the album "the wrong kind of joke – either Midnight Oil with a raspy singer or James Hetfield attempting to hijack U2 – complete with inane lyrics about 'Prozac People', 'Intellect' and 'Another Bloody Election'. Vote with your feet."[7] Jack Rabid of AllMusic, on the other hand, called it "Killing Joke's best album in [eleven] years".[2] In Germany, the album garnered “record of the month” status in at least two magazines (Metal Hammer and Rock Hard).

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Jaz Coleman, Youth and Geordie Walker.

1."Savage Freedom"4:52
3."Prozac People"6:54
8."Medicine Wheel"5:18
9."Absent Friends"5:40
10."Another Bloody Election"4:27


Killing Joke
Additional personnel


Year Chart Peak
1996 UK Albums Chart 71[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Killing Joke | Artist | Official Charts". Official Charts. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b Rabid, Jack. "Democracy – Killing Joke | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  3. ^ Eddy, Chuck (19 April 1996). "Democracy |". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  4. ^ Holtje, Steve (1999). "Killing Joke". In Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel. MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (loan required). Detroit: Visible Ink Press. pp. 629–630. ISBN 978-1-57859-061-2 – via the Internet Archive.
  5. ^ a b Begrand, Adrien (29 September 2005). "Killing Joke: Pandemonium / Democracy | PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  6. ^ Stratmann, Holger. "RockHard: Review anzeigen". Rock Hard. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  7. ^ a b Grant, Steven; Sheridan, David; Fasolino, Greg; Robbins, Ira. " :: Killing Joke". Trouser Press. Retrieved 25 February 2015.

External links[edit]