Saying that a Killing Joke best of album is going to be good is like saying that the sun is going to rise in the morning. It’s inevitable in both cases. On Spinefarm’s 3-disc The Singles Collection 1979-2012 fans of their earlier post-punk anthems can join together with fans of the heavier band the mid to late ’90’s saw them become. If you’re not a fan already then this is the perfect introduction because in addition to the 2-disc best of portion you also get a bonus disc of unreleased material and it’s definitely on par with some of the bands’ finest work.
For me, it’s a toss up between the main two discs. Disc one is all of the undeniable “classics” but disc two is the album that has the songs that made me a fan as “Millennium” was the song that enticed me almost 20 years ago. Can you really compare a song like “War Dance” and “Requiem” to “Pandemonium” or “European Super State”? Of course not. The beauty of the Killing Joke catalog though is that at its core, the same band exists no matter how much they’ve evolved over the years.
The perfect example would be taking a listen to the dub/reggae influence on Disc 1’s album opener “Nervous System” (Which is over 30 years old, mind you) and hearing the similarities between a recent song like “Ghost Of Ladbroke Grove” off 2010’s Absolute Dissent. If that’s not a clear testament of Killing Joke sticking to their roots no matter how much they’ve inevitably expanded their sound over the years then I don’t know what is.
For disc three’s gems there’s the throbbing “Drug” and “Hollywood Babylon” which came out of an era that saw KJ lean towards a more dance oriented sound and one of my all time favorites, “Zennon”, which came from the 2003 Killing Joke sessions which are the immediate standouts. There’s also the Burton Bell (Fear Factory) led “Our Last Goodbye” and some great Absolute Dissent outtakes (“Feast Of Fools” and “Timewave”) which should whet the appetite of any fan anxiously awaiting the upcoming 16th studio album.