6 Exit (1981)
Really, every track from What’s THIS For…? could be offered on this list, but closing track Exit is a beauty, from the barking dogs which open the track to the Glitter-Band-in-hell thunder of the drums as they take the song by the scruff of the neck and shake it relentlessly for the next three minutes. Pure tribal-punk joy.
7 Rapture (2012)
The return of Big Paul to the fold after the death of Raven gladdened the hearts of long term followers. The subsequent album Absolute Dissent saw the band pointedly refusing to run over old territories, and offered instead the blunt force power that had characterised their more recent albums. Personally I miss the old subtleties, where each musician seemed to be playing their own lead part. It seemed to me as though Paul was re-learning to play the drums – but the power and energy of the new material was impressive enough. Rapture, from the MMXII, album captures the Dionysian spirit of the re-united comrades.
8 Follow The Leaders (1981)
Probably the band’s prime moment of disco / post-punk fusion. The b-side of the 10” Follow The Leaders single had a dub mix which stripped the song back to its pure dance form. The album version however, overlays the simple drum machine pattern with a mountain of tom-toms – a perfect genetic splice of Chic’s dance ethic with the Joke’s shrapnel explosion of noise, and with a yell-along chorus that would please dancefloors everywhere.
9 Extremities (1990)
In 1988, perhaps bored by how well things been going, Killing Joke descended into one of their periodic epic meltdowns. During the recording of what was intended to be a Jaz Coleman solo album, Big Paul exited the band, followed by Raven, and the resulting Outside The Gate album – released as a Killing Joke record – entered the world as a the selection from the discography that even hardcore fans generally struggle to recommend. In its perplexing wake the band dissolved, seemingly permanently. Two years later though,
another great drummer, former PiL man Martin Atkins, took the band by the scruff of the neck. Extremities, Dirt and Various Repressed Emotions was an abrupt return to form that took even the most devoted followers by surprise. Inside the Termite Mound reclaimed the band’s malignant death march pace last heard on The Hum, while Extremities itself was a rocket-fueled explosion of anger and violence that took Killing Joke to new levels. The line-up burned out after just the one record, but they made their mark in no uncertain terms.
10 Hosannas From The Basements Of Hell (2006)
After KJ2003 had resurrected the band for the new millennium, the time was obviously ripe for them to ditch a winning formula and start another phoenix from the ashes. To be fair, ’03 had achieved great results by using production methods which went against the band’s instinctive DNA, and the successor album, Hosannas From The Basements of Hell, went straight back to basics, recording one-take tracks in a Prague basement studio. The results were sludgy and dense – too much for many – but perhaps a more honest representation of the band’s sound than 2003. On board came Ben Calvert, young and hard-hitting in the Dave Grohl vein, to power along another revival.
part one of Killing Joke top 10 drummer’s tracks is here