Coitus Interruptus Productions quotes writer Steve Taylor from his 2006 book, The A to X of Alternative Music, as saying “Killing Joke have inspired all dark music since 1981” going on to posit that “Scrape the surface of just about any Industrial Metal or Alternative Rock band worth their salt, and you’ll find some aspects of the prolific and powerful Killing Joke.”
With that bold statement, they bring us Follow the Leaders (A Killing Joke Tribute), an 11 track compilation that dares to take on the challenge of honoring one of the greatest progenitors of the post-punk/industrial metal genre.
Snowbeasts start it off right with their take on the KJ classic Wardance. Primal rhythms with a darkly polished sheen. This wardance knows it’s not just about brutality and wounds its prey with subtle efficient strikes… Makes you wanna pogo along like a flashback to an 80’s punk show by way of a Berlin discotheque.
From there we move onto Element, and their version of Turn to Red. Element trades the punk reggae vibes of the original for more darkwave sound and turns up the dub a bit to make this one hard not bob your head to its tranced out vibe.
Next, The Blue Hour brings us The Gathering. I am not sure how they do it, but TBH takes this classic Killing Joke track, and channels the ghosts of Bow Wow Wow, and still makes the track sound fresh.
Riotgun takes on the herculean task of covering one of the most well known KJ tracks, Eighties. You have to give these guys credit… This is the one track that I had the most concern about when I heard about this compilation. Yet I think they do an admirable job of keeping the aggression in place and not turning in an unintentional parody of the original. Hats off to Riotgun… Well played!
Here in the middle of the group, we find three of the best tracks of the compilation in my opinion…
Shhadows brings us a dreamy, trip hop inspired version of my all time favorite Killing Joke song Love Like Blood. For all its dreamy, spaced out qualities, it still keeps its power.
Trance to the Moon tackles Love of the Masses. This song hits me with the same angst of a song like Love Like Blood from a new direction, and I feel the pain in every note that vocalist Monet Alarie hits. Like a love gone wrong, it leaves you longing for another kiss.
And rounding out this triad of greatness is The Joy Thieves (featuring I Ya Toya) with Money is Not Our God. Ania Tarnowska, takes no prisoners with her vocals on this bombastic assault against capitalism, propelled through the night by the punishing rhythms courtesy of Dan Milligan and crew.
On The Death and Resurrection Show, Missing Witness brings us a version of the song that we might have seen if Jaz and the Gang had gotten snared in the Wax Trax net circa 1986. The track evokes the feel of Ministry tracks The Angel and Over the Shoulder. Very cool old-school Chicago industrial vibes here.
The Raygun Girls bring those Big Paul Ferguson Beats to the front of the line on their take on Hosannas from the Basements of Hell. This is the most Killing Joke like track on the whole record, yet doesn’t cross that line over into cover band purgatory.
This World Hell by Dead Receptors is an interesting track full of contradictions. Its brutalist vocals and staccato clipped synths are weighted down by the sleazy/funky bass and drums that remind me of great tracks like Golgotha Tenement Blues from Machines of Loving Grace.
And finally, HadesMachine shows us out with Euphoria. A Goth rock banger tinged with siren call synths pleading for us to show some urgency, like a vampire biker gang racing against the dawn.
Overall this compilation curated by Coitus Interruptus Productions is a worthy tribute to one of the great pioneers of the post-punk/industrial sound. Go pick it up as a pay what you want offering at: https://coitusinterruptusproductions.bandcamp.com/album/follow-the-leaders-a-killing-joke-tribute