Undoubted frontrunners of industrial melancholy Killing Joke present fifteenth full-length ‘Pylon’ accompanied by strong anti-political sentiment, however sadly a little too repetitive for adrenaline-soaked music lovers. On the bright side, for fans of dull five-minute epic tracks that may as well be cut down to 3 for all it repeats, ‘Pylon’ is a treasure to behold.
Trudging from the onset, opener ‘Apotheosis’ initiates a racing tempo but establishes the monotone of the vocals inflicted upon the entire release. Echoing in its intimidating atmosphere, ‘Plague’ offsets the futuristic ‘Star Spangled’ and its blatant condemnation, listing ecological and man-made disasters that quite obviously reflect their political views. Near-9 minute epic ‘Panopticon’ drags on as if twice as long, while the post-punk groove of ‘Snakedance’ falls short of charming. However, denouncing the abusive authority of phones and drones upon a modern day existence, the authoritative beat of ‘Autonomous Zone’ proves quite catchy in comparison.
The quasi-thrash melody of ‘Dawn of the Hive’ echoes somewhat Metallica-esque undertones to its trudging philosophical drone. Also forceful and melodic, ‘New Cold War’ leads into the infectious ‘Euphoria’ before reaching the fast-paced digital contagion of ‘New Jerusalem’, which finally breaks the monotonous cycle not a moment too soon. It’s hard to avoid that the foreboding instrumentals and disappointingly robotic vocals of ‘War on Freedom’ should prioritise the war on monotony instead.
‘Big Buzz’ is undoubtedly as indie as they come, however its repetitive, dull nature baptises it as a kind of earworm worth avoiding. If Doctor Who fans were anticipating a Cyberman-esque anthem from ‘Delete’, this track does not disappoint. Stompy but nonetheless repetitive, it tallies conveniently with successor ‘I Am the Virus’, quite laughable in its intimidating concept, spoiling the otherwise starkly realistic theme. Closing on ‘Into the Unknown’, Pylon’s final curtain call contains a spirited, energetic and tricksy backing, yet once again the monotony proves to be largely uneventful.
Sadly, ‘Pylon’ falls short of innovation and ambition. Although considering its intended anti-establishment sentiment, it’s likely it had no intention of being either. Monotony is a fact of life, and Killing Joke have left no doubt as to its presence amid ‘Pylon’.
Track Listing: Apotheosis, Plague, Star Spangled, Panopticon, Snakedance, Autonomous, Dawn of the Hive, New Cold War, Euphoria, New Jerusalem, War on Freedom, Big Buzz, Delete, I Am the Virus, Into the Unknown.
Jaz Coleman – Vocals and Keyboards
Kevin “Geordie” Walker – Lead Guitar
Martin “Youth” Glover – Bass Guitar
Paul Ferguson – Drums and Vocals
Reza Uhdin – Keyboards