I know, I know, Killing Joke is NOT a band from Iceland, but they lived there...at least for a little while. Jaz Coleman, founding member of the band, and its lead vocalist and keyboardist, evidently thought shortly after finishing their third album Revelations that the end of the world was nigh, and decided that the best place to be for that event was Iceland. He quickly moved there with the band's guitarist, soon to be followed by the rest of the band. Interestingly, they never recorded there, but worked with various local bands, and one in particular which would later become The Sugarcubes. Jaz, upon realizing that maybe the Apocalypse was not that close, returned to England and continued recording with Killing Joke.
This album (Killing Joke) is their debut. I can't remember when I first heard it, but I do remember the son of one of my mom's distant cousins telling me the story in the 80's about how his band had opened for Killing Joke once when they played his local town. He told me that there was a lot of drug paraphernalia backstage, including spoons and cotton balls. That really sealed the deal for me, and I somehow got my hands on some of their albums, and though I didn't initially like their music, I developed an appreciation for their work over the years that culminated a few years ago when I realized how brilliant their music really was (at least to me!).
If Jaz Coleman was running away from the Apocalypse, his band's first album sure as hell sounds like the Apocalypse! It's loud, with a brutal rhythm section, and really thrashing guitar licks. Listen to songs like "Requiem", "Wardance", or "The Wait", and you'll probably hear what I mean. Though I wanted desperately to "get it", I really didn't start appreciating this kind of music until much later in my life when I got into bands like The Swans, The Birthday Party, and even Nine Inch Nails. Killing Joke's first three albums are a strange and intoxicating mix of metal, punk, and industrial sounds. The result is unique, and though many bands have tried hard to copy their style, they remain the indisputable source of that sound.
The band is still around, putting out really excellent and hard-sounding albums after a period of leaning on more dance-music sounds (check out their most recent record), and they are currently touring with all the original members after the tragic death of long-time bassist Raven.