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Killing Joke: In Dub

Album Review

Apocalyptic visionaries amplify the echoes of their past

In 1979, the lead track of Killing Joke’s debut EP, Turn To Red, was a punk-influenced deep dub cut, so it’s not surprising that the titans have released a treble album of sweet smoke-infused reworkings in thrall to decades’ worth of Jamaican and London soundsystem culture.

This Kickstarter-funded project was overseen by the group’s prodigal son and original bassist Youth, in whose immersive and hefty basslines the links between Killing Joke’s industrial metal stomp and dubplate visionaries such as King Tubby and Lee Perry are most obvious. 

The newer material is a dense patchwork of samples, additional instrumentation and effects, which calls to mind the ambient rave and digi-dub of The Orb (whose lineup once contained Thrash, a Killing Joke roadie), sometimes vocally enhanced by the toasting of Brother Culture. 

Earlier tracks such as Killer Dub are more in keeping with the revolutionary exploratory post-punk spirit of 1979 – displayed elsewhere by Bauhaus and Public Image Ltd. Smokin’.

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