Killing Joke: Nightime
NIGHT TIME by KILLING JOKE
Originally Released in February 1985 by EG Records
1. Night Time
2. Darkness Before Dawn
3. Love Like Blood
4. Kings And Queens
Marking the full return from the band's out-of-nowhere hiatus in 1982, "Night Time", following after a couple of test-the-waters EPs, finds the reconstituted Killing Joke, with Paul Raven in on bass (sometimes funky but always driving), but otherwise unchanged, caught between their earlier aggression and a calmer, more immediately accessible approach. This turned out to be the band's Achilles heel in the end, with later albums in the '80s evidence that the group had turned into a generic modern rock band. At this point, however, the tension between the two sides had a perfect balance, and as a result Night Time is arguably the quartet's freshest album since its debut, with a warm, anthemic quality now supplementing the blasting, driving approach that made the band's name, as songs like "Kings and Queens" demonstrate.
"Night Time" is intense, claustrophobic, passionate and powerful.
Geordie Walker pulls off some jaw-dropping solos amid his fierce chunky riffs -- check out his turns on the barnstorming raw opening & title track -- while Paul Ferguson mixes and matches electronic beats with his own very well (perhaps a little less intensely than before, but not by much). Jaz Coleman's experimentation with keyboards -- chopped-up vocal samples, calmer and sweet lead melodies -- is paralleled by his own singing, now mostly free of the treatments and echoes familiar from earlier days. He's got a great singing voice as it stands, and it's a treat to hear him let it flow forth without forcing it.
"Eighties" turned out to be the retrospectively most well-known song, due to a surprising and not always remembered example of Killing Joke's influence -- Nirvana, of all groups, thoroughly cloned the watery guitar line at the heart of the track for "Come as You Are."
A supposed lawsuit, claimed by Kerrang!, was issued against Nirvana by Killing Joke for appropriation of the riff. Because no accusation was recorded, Kerrang! claimed that it was dropped shortly after Kurt Cobain's death in 1994. According to Rolling Stone magazine, Killing Joke did not file a copyright infringement lawsuit, because of "personal and financial reasons". However, conflicting reports, such as Kerrang!, have stated differently.
A reassured interview with guitarist Geordie Walker in December of that year later proved that a lawsuit was issued after the manager of Nirvana responded rudely, saying "Boo, never heard of ya!".
In light of the events that occurred from 1992 to 1994, Dave Grohl took it upon himself to pay a sort of restitution for the appropriation by drumming on the 2003 album "Killing Joke". Grohl is a longtime, vocal fan of Killing Joke, and has stated that he lobbied the band to be allowed to play on the album.
"Love Like Blood" was the breakthrough single in the U.K., although -- and for good reason -- it managed the bizarre trick of slotting alongside Duran Duran for mainstream radio airplay while still sounding like nobody other than Killing Joke.
In fact, for me, the track is just as emotive and powerful as it ever was, and in my book, is one of the greatest singles ever released!
If "Love Like Blood" doesn't move you in some form or another, then something inside of you has died....
While the early Joke albums are brilliant in their own way, it was with "Night Time" that they created their truly classic album. The harsh, riffing guitars are still there, as are the hypnotic rhythms from the bass and drums. But added to this are a new sophistication in the song writing, with increased emphasis on moody synths and melodic vocals. Although the follow up album "Brighter Than a Thousand Suns" was a very good album in it's own right, it doesn't quite match-up to "Night Time", as it's purely it's inferior cousin, added with extra synths and even more conventional vocals.
With "Night Time" the band find a perfect balance between their earlier punkiness and a new found accessibility. The obvious stand out track is the hit single "Love Like Blood", but almost every track could have been a single as they are all so strong.
The 2008 remastered CD, with a good selection of session and non-album tracks makes this an essential buy even if you already own the original release, as this re-release is the re-mastered sound-and also reflects how poor the mastering is on many CD issues from the late 80s. On the reissue, the vocals are clearer, the drumming louder and the guitars in particular sound sharper.
Although the original was released in the mid eighties, it still stands the test of time. As fresh today as it was 20 odd years ago.