Documentary Review – The Death and Resurrection Show (2015)

Documentary Review – The Death and Resurrection Show (2015)



Martin Adil-Smith

If you are under 40, whether you know it or not, Killing Joke have probably had a direct or indirect influence on the musicians you know and love.

So begins The Death & Resurrection Show, a two hour documentary on the magic and madness of one Britain’s most enduring talents. Before viewing this, I could have named maybe two Killing Joke songs and was genuinely surprised at how much material I knew and the influence these stalwarts have had on my own musical tastes.

Rather than glossing over the cracks, this is a warts and all love note that addresses the conflicts and the eccentricities of all the major players and features candid interviews with the surviving band members as well as journalists, management, as well as session musicians like Dave Grohl.

In equal measure disturbing and poignant, this is documentary of unparalleled accomplishment not just in hard rock, but also in the classical genre as well, and details just how much the personal belief systems of the individuals have gone into forming the genre-defying sound of Killing Joke.



The archive footage is expansive and it is clear that Killing Joke is greater than the sum of its members, achieving a personality and sentience of its own.

In many ways, this documentary transcends its source material (Jaz Coleman’s “Letters from Cythera”), and becomes a full activated sigil for the chaos and magic within the band. As hard as I tried, I could not find fault with this sprawling piece. It is engaging and witty, and at the same time heartbreaking and horrific. Immediately after viewing I went out and bought Killing Joke’s back catalogue. That in itself should be a sufficient testament to the power of this offering.

Go and watch it now, and revel in the Discordianism.