In 1979, artist Mike Coles began the Malicious Damage record label with English post-punk band Killing Joke to release their bizarrely dubby debut EP, Turn to Red. Coles is the man responsible for crafting the visual identity of Killing Joke. His work is right at home next to that of the Crass collages of Gee Vaucher (who I've talked about previously) and enjoys the same kind of complimentary relationship with the music that few artists achieve. The above image, from Killing Joke's self-titled 1980 album, is so iconic and so perfectly represents the band that it is almost impossible for it not to come to mind when listening to them. For me, those early, dirty songs sound like spray painting concrete walls in the dark.
Killing Joke was making proto-goth and industrial before those genres had names. Say what you will about what those things have morphed into, but pitch black tracks like "Unspeakable" and "The Wait" would still sound cutting edge if they were released today.
For more from the group, check out this 12 song bootleg, Live in Toronto, Canada (1982), available for download here. Killing Joke is set to release a new studio album with the original lineup in March. Fingers crossed.
Killing Joke live at the Cultureel Centrum, Antwerp, Belgium, 1981.