Graveside is an unusual place to make peace. But in the case of Britain’s influential proto-punk outfit Killing Joke, it made perfect symmetrical sense.
When member Paul Raven died from heart failure three years ago, the band’s original lineup — vocalist Jaz Coleman, guitarist Geordie Walker, bassist Martin “Youth” Glover and drummer Paul Ferguson — reconvened at their friend’s funeral, and decided to once again tap into the primal energy of industrial-strength efforts like 1980’s “Killing Joke” and 1981’s “What’s This For!” the stars aligned in their favor.
The group had a topsy-turvy history — Coleman, once fascinated with the occult, moved the entire group to Iceland in ’82 to survive the pending Apocalypse he foresaw. And the frontman is composing a mass for choir and orchestra, with Killing Joke lyrics translated into Latin. But their reunion resulted in the new “Absolute Dissent” comeback, as well as a world tour that brings them to San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom this Friday.
Out of tragedy came some great, life-affirming art.