Killing Joke – XXV Gathering! Vinyl and CD Album Review

Killing Joke – XXV Gathering!

Recorded during Killing Joke’s 25th anniversary celebration, XXV Gathering! captures the band in blistering form. Bursting out the gate with ‘Communion’, ‘Wardance’, and ‘Song and Dance’, the setlist sizzles from start to finish, blending classic and, at the time, newer cuts seamlessly.

The album comprises performances from two nights at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London, and does well to capture the raw ferocity and grit of a Killing Joke show. Jaz Coleman is in particularly relentless form here; sounding like a man possessed, he bellows out vocal lines with such vehemence that, even when he strains and falls a little flat on some of the higher notes, you can’t help but feel your hair stand on end. As for the band as a whole, they sound nothing short of inspired, and it’s infectious. Introducing the penultimate song, ‘Love Like Blood’, Coleman dedicates it to the recent passing of his and Geordie Walker’s fathers – “the two Rons” – before diving into what is surely the highlight of the night.

XXV Gathering! is newly reissued on CD and limited-edition yellow and orange vinyl, courtesy of Cooking Vinyl.

The set features photos by Tony Woolliscroft and liner notes from Coleman. Concluding the latter, the frontman introduces the album with, “Here it is (warts and all), no overdubs. Killing Joke live and unadulterated. A celebration.” And that’s exactly what it is, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Dan Aston | Now Spinning Magazine

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