Killing Joke (2003 album)

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Killing Joke
Killing Joke 2003 album.jpg
Studio album by Killing Joke
Released 28 July 2003 (2003-07-28)
Recorded 2002–03
Studio The Beauchamp Building
(London, England)
Length 59:28
Label Zuma
Killing Joke chronology
Killing Joke
Hosannas from the Basements of Hell
(2006)Hosannas from the Basements of Hell2006
Singles from Killing Joke
  1. "Loose Cannon"
    Released: 17 July 2003
  2. "Seeing Red"
    Released: 6 October 2003

Killing Joke is the eleventh studio album by English rock band Killing Joke, released on 28 July 2003 by record label 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 former Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, who is also a long-time Killing Joke fan, on drums. This is also Killing Joke's second self-titled album, following their first in 1980, as an effect of the hiatus.

Background and recording[edit]

Vocalist Jaz Coleman and Dave 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:

The album was produced by Andy Gill of Gang of Four.


Killing Joke was released on 28 July 2003 by record label Zuma Recordings. It reached number 43 in the UK Albums Chart.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 79/100[8]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[9]
Alternative Press 5/5 stars[10]
Blender 3.5/5 stars[11]
Entertainment Weekly favourable[12]
Mojo 4.5/5 stars[13]
Q 2/5 stars[14]
Rock Hard 8.5/10[15]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[16]
Stylus A−[17]
Uncut 4/5 stars[18]

Critical reaction to Killing Joke has been mostly positive. It currently holds a 79/100 approval rating on review aggregator website Metacritic, based on fifteen reviews.[8]

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".[citation needed] John Robb of Playlouder wrote that the album "may well be the best rock record you'll hear all year".[19] David Jeffries of AllMusic wrote "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".[9]

A negative review came from Rolling Stone, who awarded the album 2 stars out of 5 and wrote that "all the humorless gloom and doom feels oppressive after a while".[16] Q also gave a score of 2 out of 5, claiming that the album was "patchy".[14]

In 2005, Killing Joke was ranked number 355 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[20]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Jaz Coleman; all music composed by Geordie Walker, Youth and Andy Gill, except where noted.

No. Title Length
1. "The Death & Resurrection Show" 6:56
2. "Total Invasion" 5:28
3. "Asteroid" 3:24
4. "Implant" 5:18
5. "Blood on Your Hands" 6:00
6. "Loose Cannon" 4:12
7. "You'll Never Get to Me" 6:19
8. "Seeing Red" 5:27
9. "Dark Forces" 6:26
10. "The House That Pain Built" 6:13


Killing Joke

Additional personnel

  • Andy Gill – additional guitar feedback, rhythm producer
  • Katie Summers – voice on track 2


Chart (2003) Peak
UK Albums Chart 43[7]
U.S. Billboard Top Independent Albums 30[21]
German Album Charts 65[22]
France 108[23]
Netherlands 100[24]


  1. ^ "Conspiracy of Two". Kerrang!. 12 April 2003. Archived from the original on 9 February 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Borzillo-Vrenna, Carrie (10 April 2003). "Nirvana Pay Back Killing Joke". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 9 September 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "Guitar UK". Archived from the original on 7 September 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Heller, Jason (30 October 2003). "Knock 'em Dead: Killing Joke's Ghoulish Rock Has the Last Laugh". Denver Westword. Colorado, United States. Archived from the original on 9 February 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Engleheart, Murray (4 November 2003). "Tension Makes the Joke Work". Drum Media. Archived from the original on 9 September 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "Jaz Coleman & Dave Grohl – On Studio 2003 – YouTube". YouTube. 25 January 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Killing Joke | Artist | Official Charts". Official Charts. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Reviews for Killing Joke [2003] by Killing Joke – Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Jeffries, David. "Killing Joke [2003] – Killing Joke | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  10. ^ "[Killing Joke review]". Alternative Press: 116. October 2003. 
  11. ^ "[Killing Joke review]". Blender: 118. October 2003. 
  12. ^ "Killing Joke |". Entertainment Weekly. 15 August 2003. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  13. ^ "[Killing Joke review]". Mojo: 103. August 2003. 
  14. ^ a b "[Killing Joke review]". Q: 102. September 2003. 
  15. ^ Stratmann, Holger. "[Killing Joke review]". Rock Hard (195). Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  16. ^ a b "[Killing Joke review]". Rolling Stone: 74. 18 September 2003. 
  17. ^ Mathers, Ian (14 October 2003). "Killing Joke – Killing Joke – Review – Stylus Magazine". Stylus. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  18. ^ "[Killing Joke review]". Uncut: 102. September 2003. 
  19. ^ Robb, John (26 July 2003). "Killing Joke: The Last Laugh". Playlouder. Archived from the original on 9 February 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  20. ^ [...], 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. 
  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. 

External links[edit]