MOST bands celebrating their 40th anniversary are lucky if they can scrape together one or two original members, quite often only the bassist or drummer remains which dilutes the effect somewhat.

Killing Joke however buck that trend as they hit the road with the original line-up that formed four decades ago as a bunch of raucous teenagers to celebrate 40 years as a band.

With no fewer than 15 studio albums to draw from, their setlist covered all eras from their self-titled debut album to their latest release, Pylon as Paul Ferguson`s furious tribal drumming on Unspeakable set the pace, swiftly followed by the trance-like beat and Youth`s bubbling bass of European Super State demonstrating Killing Joke`s startling ability to turn, chameleon-like from one genre to another without skipping a beat.

Whether it`s Metal, Punk, Industrial, Goth, Pop or Dance, nothing is out of the question and few bands have this ability to transcend musical barriers.

Enigmatic frontman Jaz Coleman was absolutely mesmerising as his manic, anguished expressions unleashed his pent-up fury at the state of the world during New Cold War and Corporate Elect. At times the music was dark, oppressive and stifling reflecting his frustrations but was never less than enthralling.

Iconic hits, Eighties and the classic Love Like Blood, with its haunting Gothic melody provided a melodic counterpoint to the more intense Loose Canon where Geordie`s grinding riff provided the backdrop to Coleman`s most venomous vocals.

Over the course of the show the vintage Requiem, the relentless assault of The Wait and Wardance rubbed shoulders with the more recent Autonomous Zone which showed that Killing Joke`s anger hasn`t subdued 40 years on and as the suitably named Pandemonium brought the birthday celebrations to a cacophonous end this was one dysfunctional party to savour.

Mick Burgess