Killing Joke Hosannas from the Basements of Hell

With a roster boasting Echo & the Bunnymen, Janis Ian and Richard Thompson, the Cooking Vinyl label is definitely stretching a bit with the new Killing Joke album. Starring most of the band’s classic line-up (vocalist Jaz Coleman, bassist Paul Raven, guitarist Geordie Walker), Hosannas is not necessarily a return to KJ’s vicious 2003 self-titled album, but it puts more emphasis on the group’s rounder edges: less aggressive but with enough bite to keep long-time fans satisfied. Opener "This Tribal Antidote” sports that industrial swing that made 1996’s Democracy such a landslide victory. The title track’s darting polyrhythms revert to KJ’s self-titled effort, though without Dave Grohl on drums, the cut is decidedly less urgent. "Invocation,” however, employs some orchestrated strings, logging the same effect as Led Zeppelin’s "Kashmir” or Michael Kamen’s direction on Metallica’s S&M. "Implosion” brandishes Democracy-era overtones, while Geordie’s mechanical guitar grind on "Walking with Gods” is completely inexorable. "The Lightbringer” has an old Romeo Void vibe, and the slow-burning closer "Gratitude,” pivoting on Coleman’s famed, gravel-throated tenor, purrs like recent Ewigkeit. Sheathed in Dali-like surrealist art, Hosannas is fully appreciated, as the liner notes insist, at welding volume. (Cooking Vinyl)