Outside the Gate

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Outside the Gate
Studio album by
Released27 June 1988
RecordedJuly–August 1987
Length38:00 (original release)
50:32 (reissue with bonus tracks)
LabelE.G., Virgin
Killing Joke chronology
Brighter Than a Thousand Suns
Outside the Gate
The Courtauld Talks
Singles from Outside the Gate
  1. "America"
    Released: 18 April 1988
  2. "My Love of this Land"
    Released: 3 July 1988

Outside the Gate is the seventh studio album by English post-punk band Killing Joke, released in June 1988 by E.G. via Virgin Records worldwide. It was a significant stylistic departure for the band, with complex synthesised (orchestra influenced) arrangements and less prominent guitar.[2] Tensions within the band surfaced during pre-production. Drummer Paul Ferguson was dismissed at the beginning of the sessions and replaced by a studio musician while bassist Paul Raven took part to the recording but ultimately asked his name to be withdrawn from the credits for major disagreement over artistic content.[3] The lead single was "America".

Production, sleeve, promotion and aftermath[edit]

In 1987, the band recorded new material written and produced by singer Jaz Coleman and guitarist Geordie Walker. The tempos and time signatures of the music were determined using gematria.[4] It also featured prominent synthesised instrumentation from Coleman, who was keen to use the symphonic techniques he had learned in his recent classical composition training.[5] Paul Ferguson initially attempted to record drums but, according to Coleman, was ejected because he was unable to perform the complex material to the required standard. This version of events was later rejected by Paul Raven, who stated: "I know Paul and when he does something he does it properly. If it wasn't right he would have stayed there 'til it was".[3] Session player Jimmy Copley was brought in to re-record the drums with Jeff Scantlebury for additional percussion. Raven departed shortly afterwards and asked for his name to be removed from the album credits, purportedly calling Coleman and Walker "a pair of ego-strokers".[3] Multiple overdubs were undertaken after the departure of Ferguson and Raven.[3]

A picture collage of Coleman and Walker appears on the album sleeve and the pair promoted the album with no other band members. In an interview for MTV in the UK, in May 1988, the pair stated their intention to support Outside the Gate with a tour. Coleman also stated of the album's new style that they "wanted a more articulate funky powerful rhythm" and that "as long as [he is] alive and as long as Geordie is alive, Killing Joke is alive."[6]

Ferguson has retrospectively suggested Outside the Gate began as a solo project by Coleman.[7] In an interview given in 2016, he stated that costs mounted during production, leading to the record label insisting that the project become a Killing Joke album, though he and Raven did not participate in the writing.[7]

Release and critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music[8]
MusicHound Rock[9]

Outside the Gate was not released until 27 June 1988 and entered the UK Albums Chart at number 92, staying for just one week.[11] It was panned by critics. Sounds said of the album: "It's a stodgy, inconclusive LP that fails in all but the most basic of senses to achieve its end, leaving us feeling soured and unimpressed".[12] NME shared the same point of view and depicted it as "a private breakfast of ideas, depicting poor old Jaz wading through quicksand with his jeans rolled down yet again. Worse ... he seems to be wandering off in exactly the same direction".[13] Retrospective reviews have remained largely negative; David Jeffries of AllMusic said that "pallid synths poorly imitate orchestras, the complex song structures are just tedious, Coleman acts as if he's Freddie Mercury and David Bowie mashed together, and none of the throb, thunder or heavy riffage so important to the Killing Joke name is to be found."[2] Adrien Begrand of PopMatters called it simply "disastrous".[1]

The album was not promoted with any gigs and was not even released in the USA.[14] Two singles, "America" and "My Love of This Land", were released but did little to improve its fortunes. The video for the former song featured Coleman and Walker along with drummer Copley and session bassist Jerome Rimson, who did not actually record or play live with the band.[15]

Due to poor sales, Virgin dropped the group two months after the release of the album. In 2008, the album was re-released with bonus tracks, including rough mixes of some songs. The previously unreleased track "May Day" was re-written as part of "Tiahuanaco". The original release was dedicated to Conny Plank, who had produced several Killing Joke records, after his death in 1987. The 2008 reissue was dedicated to Raven, following his death the previous year.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Jaz Coleman and Geordie Walker

Side A
2."My Love of This Land"4:13
3."Stay One Jump Ahead"3:10
4."Unto the Ends of the Earth"6:08
Side B
1."The Calling"4:45
4."Outside the Gate"8:47
CD bonus tracks
9."America" (Extended Mix)6:47
10."Stay One Jump Ahead" (Extended Mix)5:46
2008 CD reissue bonus tracks
9."May Day"3:50
10."My Love of This Land" (Early Version)4:16
11."Obsession" (Early Version)3:48
12."Unto the Ends of the Earth" (Instrumental)6:07
14."America" (Extended Mix)6:47
15."Stay One Jump Ahead" (Dub)3:30


Killing Joke
Additional personnel
  • Martin Rex - recording engineer
  • Glenn Skinner - mixing
  • Bill Smith Studio - sleeve design
  • Fil Le Gonidec - crew


Year Chart Peak
1988 UK Albums Chart 92[11]


  1. ^ a b c d Begrand, Adrien (30 April 2008). "Fun & Games: Killing Joke in the Mid-'80s". PopMatters. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Jeffries, David. "Outside the Gate – Killing Joke [review]". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Smith, Mat (14 May 1988). "Killing Joke [Paul Raven interview]". Melody Maker.
  4. ^ Killing Joke (1989). The Courtauld Talks (album). Invisible Records.
  5. ^ Coleman, Jaz (2013). Letters from Cythera. The Order of Kaph. p. 348.
  6. ^ "Killing Joke interview -Coleman and Walker on MTV". Youtube. May 1988. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  7. ^ a b Rahman The Writer (6 October 2016). "Interview: Big Paul Ferguson from Killing Joke". Louder Than War. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  8. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195313734.
  9. ^ Holtje, Steve (1999). "Killing Joke". In Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds.). 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.
  10. ^ Perry, Neil (July 1991). "Killing Joke". Select. p. 86.
  11. ^ a b "Outside the Gate". Official Charts. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  12. ^ King, Sam (25 June 1988). "The Joke Backfires [Outside The Gate review]". Sounds Magazine.
  13. ^ Ellen, Barbara (23 July 1988). "Thrilling Bloke [Outside The Gate review]". NME. The latest album - 'Outside The Gate'- carries on the new, less honed tradition. It is a private breakfast of ideas, depicting poor old Jaz wading through quicksand with his jeans rolled down yet again. Worse ... he seems to be wandering off in exactly the same direction.
  14. ^ "Outside the Gate". Discogs. Retrieved 2 May 2019
  15. ^ "Jerome Rimson: Bass Guitarist, Author of the book Renegade". Phil Brodie Band. Retrieved 15 February 2008.

External links[edit]