Killing Joke ‎– Brighter Than A Thousand Suns

Genre:
Style:
Year:

Versions (38)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
EGLP 66 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(LP, Album, Gat) EG EGLP 66 UK 1986 Sell This Version
EGCD 66 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(CD, Album) EG EGCD 66 UK 1986 Sell This Version
EGCD 66 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(CD, Album) EG EGCD 66 US 1986 Sell This Version
EGMC 66 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(Cass, Album) EG EGMC 66 Italy 1986 Sell This Version
ML-407876 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(Cass, Album) EG ML-407876 Spain 1986 Sell This Version
530664 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(Cass, Album) Virgin 530664 France 1986 Sell This Version
EGMC 66 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(Cass, Album) EG EGMC 66 UK 1986 Sell This Version
407 876, 407876-630 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(Cass, Album, Chr) Virgin, EG, Virgin, EG 407 876, 407876-630 Europe 1986 Sell This Version
VL4 2379 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(Cass, Album, CrO) Virgin, EG, Editions EG VL4 2379 Canada 1986 Sell This Version
TC-VG 50224 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(Cass, Album, S/Edition) EG, Δίσκοι Virgin ΕΠΕ TC-VG 50224 Greece 1986 Sell This Version
VL 2379 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(LP, Album) EG VL 2379 Canada 1986 Sell This Version
207 876 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(LP, Album) Virgin 207 876 Germany 1986 Sell This Version
EGLP 66 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(LP, Album, Gat) EG EGLP 66 New Zealand 1986 Sell This Version
207 876 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(LP, Album, Gat) Virgin 207 876 Germany 1986 Sell This Version
28VB-1136 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(LP, Album, Gat) EG 28VB-1136 Japan 1986 Sell This Version
530661 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(LP, Album, Gat) Virgin 530661 France 1986 Sell This Version
EGLP 66, EG 66-1 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(LP, Album, Gat) EG, EG EGLP 66, EG 66-1 1986 Sell This Version
EGLP 66 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(LP, Album, Gat) EG EGLP 66 Italy 1986 Sell This Version
VG 50224, EGLP 66 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(LP, Album, Gat) Virgin, EG VG 50224, EGLP 66 Greece 1986 Sell This Version
LL-207 876 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(LP, Album, Gat) Virgin LL-207 876 Spain 1986 Sell This Version
EGLP 66 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(LP, Album, Promo, Gat) EG EGLP 66 UK 1986 Sell This Version
7 90568-4 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(Cass, Album) Virgin, EG 7 90568-4 US 1987 Sell This Version
EGLP 66, 7 90568-1 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(LP, Album) EG, EG EGLP 66, 7 90568-1 US 1987 Sell This Version
130.8007 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(LP, Album, Gat) Virgin 130.8007 Brazil 1987 Sell This Version
90568-1, 1-90568 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(LP, Album, Gat) EG, Virgin, EG, Virgin 90568-1, 1-90568 US 1987 Sell This Version
MG 1420 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(Cass, Album, Unofficial) MG Records (2) MG 1420 Poland 1991 Sell This Version
EGCD 66 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(CD, Album) EG EGCD 66 US 1994 Sell This Version
EGCD 66, 0777 7 87321 2 9, 07777 7 87321 2 9 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(CD, Album, RE) EG, Virgin, Virgin EGCD 66, 0777 7 87321 2 9, 07777 7 87321 2 9 Europe 1994 Sell This Version
50999 5 09119 2 9, KJRE 7 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(CD, Album, RE, RM) Virgin Records Ltd., Virgin Records Ltd. 50999 5 09119 2 9, KJRE 7 Europe 2007 Sell This Version
LETV020LP Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(2xLP, Album, RE, Gre) Let Them Eat Vinyl LETV020LP Europe 2008 Sell This Version
VJCP-68865 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(CD, Album, Ltd, RE, RM) Virgin VJCP-68865 Japan 2008 Sell This Version
50999 5 09119 2 9, KJRE 7 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(CD, Album, RE, RM) Virgin, Virgin 50999 5 09119 2 9, KJRE 7 Europe 2008 Sell This Version
none Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(CDr, Album, Promo, RE, RM) Virgin none UK 2008 Sell This Version
50999 5 09119 2 9, KJRE 7 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(CD, Album, RM, RP) Virgin, Virgin 50999 5 09119 2 9, KJRE 7 Europe 2011 Sell This Version
CAROLR051LP Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(LP, Album, Pic, RE) Caroline International CAROLR051LP Europe 2017 Sell This Version
50999 5 09119 2 9, KJRE 7 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(CD, Album, RE, RM, RP) Virgin, Virgin 50999 5 09119 2 9, KJRE 7 Europe Unknown Sell This Version
50999 5 09119 2 9, KJRE 7 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(CD, Album, RM, Unofficial) Virgin (2), Virgin (2) 50999 5 09119 2 9, KJRE 7 Russia Unknown Sell This Version
EGCD 66 Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns(CD, Album, RP) EG EGCD 66 US Unknown Sell This Version

Recommendations

Reviews Show All 14 Reviews

Add Review

Butterman

Butterman

June 3, 2015
referencing Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, CD, Album, RE, RM, 50999 5 09119 2 9, KJRE 7
Long time KJ fan since my simultaneous discovery in 1984 of S/T (Malicious Damage) 1980 and “Night Time” 1985.

One thing I am half ashamed to admit is that my teenage years were forged in the process of growing up alongside the mid-eighties Killing Joke albums, the original "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns" (BTATS for short) having regular airplay in my old cassette walkman during high school.

Having never known that the "original" version of the album (i.e. the Chris Kimsey mixes) existed until about 2012, I was quite intrigued to acquiring this new 2008 "re-vamped" version to see if any discernable differences were worthwhile when in comparison to the classic 1986 with which I grew up on.

Upon first listening to the Chris Kimsey mixes the first thing I noticed what how more primitive and brutal the overall sound was when in comparison to the reverb-heavy and lavish lush over-production of the original release. Granted "Fire Dances" and "Revelations" this isn't, but in some instances it does feel slightly closer to "Night Time". In fact, aside from Geordie's guitar finally being pushed slightly more forward in the mix (instead of being reduced to a mere background cameo-like appearance in the 1986 release) as well as Raven`s bass being more consistently present, even Jaz's voice sounds a bit more "raw" without all those echoing reverb effects. There`s also quite a few other bits and pieces here and there which come as new surprises for the listener who knows BTATS (the 1986 version) by heart front and back, something which I hope KJ fans, even those who still are quite un-reconciliated with BTATS, will pick up on.

These are still the classic BTATS songs we all know, but with just enough subtle (and then some not so much) differences to make this new version seem as though we are rediscovering the KJ material all over again. "Love Of The Masses" almost appears to be an "uncut" version, leading one to suspect that the 1986 version was truncated for the original release. "Sanity" and "Adorations" do offer enough of a different feel to their ancestral versions that we can now see where the original KJ was buried (underneath all that 1986 over-production!). "Victory", which was an added piece not available on the original 8-song LP version from 1986 is presented here in a highly shortened version, leading one to believe that either the 7+ minute version which appeared on the cassette and CD versions of the era was an extended studio mix, or that this new re-vamped version was edited down from it`s "original" version. Even the tracks which are supposedly untouched from their 1986 originals ("Twilight Of The Mortal" and "Rubicon" for example) still sound different, the latter ending in a fade out instead of its infinity-inducing never-ending frenzy, for example.

There are two schools of thought on this re-release with the original unreleased mixes in lieu (replacing) of the mid-eighties studio production. Some will find these versions more drab and a bit too "raw" when compared to what we grew up on 30 years ago, giving us a feeling of a lack of production values, while others will hopefully enjoy how this somewhat "controvertial" KJ album was originally meant to sound like. The choice is yours.
BogWraith

BogWraith

April 7, 2015
edited over 3 years ago
referencing Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, Cass, Album, CrO, VL4 2379

Arguably their most commercial recording, it also happens to be one of Killing Joke's best & most underrated albums. I particularly loved this Canadian cassette version as it had the bonus of 3 extra tracks not available on the LP; Goodbye To The Village, Victory & Exile.

The cassette lasted through a million play throughs and was replaced with the iTunes purchase of the restored Chris Kimsey Mix version released in 2008. The restored version is IMO, superior to the original 1986 edition. Regardless of the edition, this is an album that has seen continuous play for nearly 30 years!
Butterman

Butterman

November 17, 2014
referencing Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, LP, Album, Gat, EGLP 66
Long time KJ fan since my simultaneous discovery in 1984 of S/T (Malicious Damage) 1980 and “Night Time” 1984.

After having become a KJunky in the wake of "Night Time", a fellow Gatherer and myself were quite thrilled at the release of "BTATS" ("Brighter Than A Thousand Suns"), not having to wait for numerous years for a follow up to one of our most significantly mid-80s favorite records. However it did not take long for me to realize how KJ were now appearing to be slipping into a more commercial entity, almost washed out through over-production, in an attempt to bring them closer to the mainstream audience than ever before.

Still, if "BTATS" is considered their commercial attempt, it is a good offering which has depth and soul compared to the bubblegum fast food junk products churned out by the industry of the day. Granted, Geordie's trademark guitar work is tuned down so low in the original mix, completely overshadowed by Jaz's overly ghost-chord synth work, while Big Paul's drumming, while absolutely flawless, doesn't have much of the tribal unconventional energy of previous efforts. Raven's basswork remains noteworthy although much like Geordie's stringed instrument, isn't so much at the forefront.

Thematically speaking, "BTATS" does offer some of the most existentialist lyrics written so far, often hinting at the possible numerous nervous breakdowns of Jaz, which adds to the dark and dense mood that most songs do offer. This does make this album a strange paradox as its themes and overall feeling seems to contrast the obvious mid-80s over-production aimed at trying to push the KJ sound over the radio airplay edge.

However "BTATS" is also some of KJ's best songwriting for the genre. Although most of the pieces do seem to be quite similar to one another (most probably due to the production) and aren't very easily distinguishable from one another to the untrained ear, each song has its own merit, from the singles to the lesser known tracks. These have always reminded me of a madman laying down his misery and disjointed soul collapsing within a musical background slightly off the edge to fit into the mold it was too obviously intended for. After this record I often wondered if the KJ would survive and what would be their next step, never expecting the "Outside The Gate" controversy.
subliminal.state

subliminal.state

October 13, 2014
referencing Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, LP, Album, Gat, EGLP 66
One of the “black sheep” of the Killing Joke discography, Brighter Than a Thousand Suns is in my eyes a vastly underrated and hugely powerful work. A true modern classic, if there is such a thing (a bit pretentious I know, but bear with me). It came out bang in the middle of the band’s “accessible” phase in the mid 80s, directly following 1985’s outstanding Night Time LP and the accompanying single “Love Like Blood”, which is still the most successful thing the Joke ever put out (criminally it only reached no.16 in the UK charts, not a flop by any means, but truthfully it deserved to make the top 5 at least) . Now when I say “accessible”, I mean it somewhat loosely. The Killing Joke of this period was still aggressive and powerful, just in a different way. Despite the strong commercial/new wave leanings of their 84-86 material, it is still true to the Killing Joke spirit. I doubt there’s a Joker out there who doesn’t worship Night Time, and rightfully so. Brighter, however, seems to get panned a bit more.

On Night Time, the band’s sound still had a lot of “impact” to it despite the heavy use of synthesizers and Jaz Coleman actually singing (something he is apparently rather good at doing) instead of roaring his lungs out. On Brighter, the aggression is toned down a little more for some tracks, the majority of the album is soaring and epic with some hints of the fury of old. Take the first song, “Adorations”. Its like “Love Like Blood” with the epic and romantic qualities intensified twofold into a soaring (you’ll see me using that word a lot in relation to this album), beautiful hymn to the decadence of humanity with a subtle, yet gravely sombre edge to it despite the uplifting motif of the chorus. “Sanity” follows suit, with wonderful haunting keyboards contrasting with Coleman’s powerful singing in the chorus, and overall a magnificently sad set of lyrics that seems to perfectly embody the concept of fading power and glory.

There’s plenty of variety to be found. “Chessboards” and “Twilight” are notably more propulsive and aggressive, the former being more energetic, the latter more contemplative. Both addictively catchy. Elsewhere, tracks like “Under a Southern Sky” and “Victory” show that Killing Joke can write a moving ballad as well as the best of them. These may not be to the taste of the rabid fan of the first 3 classic albums, or the later more metal influenced stuff, but taken on their own merits they are both brilliant songs. “Wintergardens” defines the term “dark funk”, with its stabs of icy guitar from Geordie Walker punctuating Raven’s deliciously moody slap bassline, over Coleman’s esoteric rambling. “Rubicon” brings the album to a terrifying finale, the sound of the world ending, of a man’s mind tipping over the edge. If this song doesn’t persuade you, then give up. One of the CD bonus tracks, “Goodbye to the Village”, is an incredibly powerful song about the fickle nature of progress and the destruction of places that dwell within our hearts, in the face of gleaming nightmares of modern architecture. The music and Jaz’s delivery of his impassioned lyrics are honestly tear-jerking. Not what you would typically expect from Killing Joke, but they pull it off so damn well here I can’t help but love it.

This album (the original version at least, more on that in a bit) does have a very “1986” sound to it. Lots of reverb on the vocals, keys, and drums. Geordie’s signature guitar is more textural than ever here, but no less effective as listening to any of the tracks will reveal. Paul Raven offers up some of his finest basslines, though they may not be as thunderous and raw as some fans may like they are technically sound and work fantastically well within the songs. Big Paul’s drumming is at its most “80s” sounding, with a machinelike precision more befitting the nigh-on synthpop style of the album. Purists may find themselves missing those characteristic tribal rhythms that Killing Joke are traditionally most loved for. Indeed, purists may dislike most of, if not all of this album on principle....but as fans of Killing Joke, they would be doing the band, album and themselves a serious disservice in my opinion. This, coming from someone who admits to being a purist about some things himself, should say something about the quality of this album.

When the Joke’s discography was remastered in the mid 2000s, Brighter Than a Thousand Suns was given a complete overhaul. Julian Mendelsohn’s final mix was replaced with an earlier mix from Chris Kimsey, who worked with the band on Night Time. In this “restored” version, the keyboards and reverbs are toned down noticeably in favour of an emphasis on guitar and bass. Some tracks, such as “Victory” were also edited. This version may appeal more to hardcore fans of the “classic” Joke sound, indeed it makes the album resemble Night Time soundwise a lot more. That version of the album was actually the first one I heard and bought, though I also made a point of getting a copy of the original too, because I like the album that much. Frankly, I do prefer the original. However, the alternate version is just that: an alternate look at the album which should not be discredited on that basis, as the music is still the same. The original has a more "wall of sound" feel, everything blended together richly. The restored version, more punchy and with better definition to the rhythm section.

There are albums that belong in people’s collections that are hugely important to them in a personal way, due to where and when they heard them, and other such circumstances. This is one of those for me without a doubt. It pretty much defined a period of my life, and to this day I still find inspiration and solace in its epic soundscapes and Jaz Coleman's poignant lyrics. I admit that this does give me a strong personal bias towards it, but frankly it is well founded. This is potent stuff. Give it a try if you haven’t already.
Numanoid

Numanoid

November 1, 2012
referencing Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, CD, Album, EGCD 66
My favourite Killing Joke album. I can understand that older KJ fans don't like it, but it depends on your preferences. This is the album I wanted Ultravox to make in 1986, instead they produced the rather dismal U-Vox. This is how it should have been done!
Iprocetyl_Girl

Iprocetyl_Girl

May 7, 2011
edited over 7 years ago
referencing Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, LP, Album, Gat, EGLP 66
(note that this review refers to the superior original LP/CD version, not the sterile, remastered version)

How anyone could accuse this record of inspiring boredom, disappointment or anything below sheer captivation is wholly beyond me, true, it must be said that if you are looking for Killing Joke's earlier incarnation in sound as the jagged, dystopian, tribal post-punk outfit characteristic of records like "What's THIS for...", "Fire Dances", 1980's self titled album, etc then you will perhaps be left feeling somewhat malcontent - however I personally feel that this record, as a follow up from the equally classic "Night Time" is the only natural progression from their earlier aggressive works that carries the band's concept and philosophy across in a manner that feels evolutionary, both viscerally and intellectually, as it seems, perhaps what in my perspective may be called elementary romanticism, to parallel the movement through emotions so familiar through encounter to me, that one's mind will undertake in states of severity - first the reactionary, amorphous, raging idea, then manic exaltation and urgent vitriol, finally culminating in the cold, introspective melancholy of deep contemplation - the latter of which is the feeling that saturates this album and to the most scintillating of effect. Songs like "Sanity", "Chessboards" and "Wintergardens" are timeless epics showing both an inimitable quality and originality of musicianship as well as enthralling sentiments of emotion, conviction and opinion, with Jaz's heart-wrenching vocal and synth work, Geordie's uniquely dark, fractured guitar playing, the savage, moody basslines of Paul Raven and Paul Ferguson's unrelenting percussive battery, along with poignant lyrical epithets such as:

"Visions of pan transforming, new heavens come.
Eternal are the grey skies, gardens invert.
Nightshades of Eden touch me, forever touch.
No god has answered prayers here (except ourselves)" - [Wintergardens]

Truly this is one of the most important of the numerous records that constitutes the zenith of 1980s post-punk movement, every time I listen to it there seems to be more to fall head over heels in love with, even as a huge fan of all their earlier releases from 1979 onwards, Brighter Than a Thousand Suns seems to me as the ultimate culmination of the band's sound, as to me everything they have done following this record pales in comparison and seems to stray from the majesty of their manifestation in the years 1979-1986. I will admit I am not a big fan of "Industrial Metal" for the most part (other than bands like Godflesh, Scorn, etc, who to me always seemed to have a much wider palette of sonic aesthetics anyway) which may perhaps explain why I cannot really identify with the seemingly widely-held critical acclaim attributed to the band's work after this album, but as someone primarily immured with the early to mid 80s sorrowful, dark and often ethereal post-punk sound of bands like The Chameleons, Fields of the Nephilim, The Cure, Asylum Party, For Against, And Also the Trees, etc then this album sits just about as comfortably as possibly on the proverbial needle's eye of "as good as it gets". If you cannot resign from the perception of Killing Joke as a (albeit innovative) punk band, then perhaps B.T.A.T.S will go over your head, but if you are willing to embrace them for what they are, which is so much more than that, then with this album you will be rewarded for the rest of your days.
hafler3o

hafler3o

November 24, 2010
referencing Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, CD, Album, RE, RM, 50999 5 09119 2 9, KJRE 7

I've had this "restored mixes" version for some time now, I've not reviewed as I felt it only fair to give it some time when comparing to the original LP release. This version is inferior to the original LP and reissued CD release. To my mind the restored mixes makes the songs too homogenised, the tracks are more hard-edged on the earlier version and had more imaginative sound balance and progression. 'Victory' on this release starts in the middle and simply fades out, what a lack of effort there. On 'A Southern Sky' the vocals are boosted by some kind of metallic-singing-in-a-shower edginess that is really jarring, even though the sound of other instruments are cleaned up. The one really bad move is a noticeable reduction in Geordie's prominence in the mix. It's not all bad, I like the extension of 'Love Of The Masses' but I know which version I shall not be listening to from now on, this one.
Scrap_Iron

Scrap_Iron

December 14, 2009
edited over 8 years ago
referencing Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, LP, Album, Gat, EGLP 66

Ok, after an attentive listening of "Brighter Than A Thousands Sun", I must write another review. I still think this is one of Killing Joke's less convincing albums, nonetheless there's enough valuable material to justify the purchase. The band's sound shifted progressively, release after release, from the furious post-punk, proto industrial metal assaults of the first two albums, down to the melodic and moody new wave of "Night Time" and this album. Still, the music is here solid and enjoyable, bass and guitar do their work and the drums are present and powerful enough. Large room is left to the keyboards, adding the strong element of melody and melancholy that is typical of their greatest hit, "Love Like Blood". Indeed, it would seem that after the huge success of that famous tune and the signature to Virgin, Jaz Coleman and the band tried to move their music into that direction. "Sanity" is the most representative example of Killing Joke's most accessible, and moody synthpop-like song, and probably the album's highlight. "Chessboards", on the contrary, is much more rocking, with traces of epic postpunk heritage. "Adorations" and "Love Of The Masses" are again very melodic, but always with a strong feeling of depressive melancholy in the air, adding depth to what could sound just like 80s' synthpop songs at a first listening. Jaz gives the best with the melodic side of his vocal chords in these tunes, getting indeed close to Robert Smith at times. And "A Southern Sky" is surprisingly delicate and beautiful, very synthpoppy. I still think that "Rubicon" is quite similar to "Love Like Blood" in the approach, and quite too long. They could have cut down the over seven minutes and achieve another potential hit.
Summing up, I give this album a 3/5, which means not a masterpiece nor an everlasting classic, yet a good album. Recommended to new wave, moody synthpop and 80s' listeners.
noizstepper

noizstepper

December 4, 2009
referencing Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, LP, Album, Gat, EGLP 66
I like this album, also there are better ones!
Usually I don't like pop music, but "Sanity" belongs to the best synthie Pop Songs, that I ever heard. Of cause there are some weak songs on it, but there are also boring songs on "democracy", which I don't like very much!
Scrap_Iron

Scrap_Iron

December 4, 2009
referencing Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, LP, Album, Gat, EGLP 66

Every Killing Joke fan will tell you that "Outside The Gate" is the band's lowest achievement, but I have to disagree and place "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns" in that embarassing position. While "Outside The Gate" has a more distinctive 80s' pop sound in the keyboards, it still sports a few fast and epic tunes in true Killing Joke style. On the contrary, "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns" is a boring, low-key thing, with no real hit or moment worth a second listening. Some friend of mine suggested "Adorations" as a beautiful song, but it definitely isn't, it just flows without leaving any trace. "Wintergardens" sounds like a darker version of Queen, and "Rubicon", beside being way too long, gives me the impression of a discarded demo version of "Love Like Blood". Jaz Coleman's vocals are melodic and moody, a bit like some sort of Robert Smith's bigger twin, with no trace left of the original fury. Summing up, a fair late new wave album, and Killing Joke's worst.