Brighter Than a Thousand Suns (album)

Brighter Than a Thousand Suns
Killing Joke Brighter Than A Thousand Suns Cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released November 1986
Recorded October 1985; spring 1986 ("Victory"), August 1986 ("A Southern Sky")
Studio Hansa Tonstudio, West Berlin, West Germany
Length 41:17 (original vinyl release)
Label E.G., Virgin Records
Killing Joke chronology
Night Time
Brighter Than a Thousand Suns
Outside the Gate
Singles from Brighter Than a Thousand Suns
  1. "Adorations"
    Released: August 1986
  2. "Sanity"
    Released: October 1986

Brighter Than a Thousand Suns is the sixth studio album by English post-punk band Killing Joke, released in November 1986 by E.G. Records. It was their first album to be distributed through Virgin Records. It entered the UK Albums Chart at number 54 on 22 November 1986, staying for one week.[2][3] It was produced by Chris Kimsey, who had produced the band's 1985 album, Night Time.


The majority of the album was recorded in Berlin during October 1985 with returning producer Chris Kimsey. Keyboard player David Kovacec recalls the recording sessions and time spent in Berlin as "wild".[4] The track "Victory" was recorded months later in Spring 1986, along with "Ecstasy" (the B-side to the Adorations single release), produced by Stewart Levine. The last track to be produced was "A Southern Sky" in August 1986, produced by Chris Tsangarides.

The album, with the exception of "A Southern Sky", was originally mixed by Chris Kimsey. However, E.G. Records requested that all of Kimsey's mixes (bar "Twilight of the Mortal") be replaced with new mixes by Julian Mendelsohn for more commercial appeal, against the wishes of the band. It was these replacement mixes which were ultimately released, with prominent reverb and the guitars and rhythm section generally mixed lower. Some songs were significantly altered, such as extending "Victory" from its original 4 minutes to over 7 in the style of a 12" remix.[1]

The 1986 vinyl release contained only 8 tracks due to the limited runtime of LP records, while the cassette and CD versions both contained 11, each with a slightly different running order, as detailed below. The album reached number 54 in the UK Albums Chart.[2]

At the request of Killing Joke, Chris Kimsey's original mixes were restored when the album was reissued in 2008. The reissue also features bonus tracks, including the B-side "Ecstasy". The verse riff from "Ecstasy" was reused on the track "Obsession" from Killing Joke's next album, Outside the Gate.[1]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic [5]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music [6]
PopMatters 6/10[1]
Sounds 3/5[7]
MusicHound Rock [8]

Brighter Than a Thousand Suns has received a mixed response from music critics. Ned Raggett of AllMusic retrospectively wrote, "Chris Kimsey's production, effective on that earlier album [1985's Night Time], here combines with Julian Mendelsohn's mixing to result too often in blanded-out album rock throwaways".[5] Adrien Begrand of PopMatters wrote in 2008, "Brighter Than a Thousand Suns marked a sharp decline in quality, many viewing it as a complete betrayal of Killing Joke's signature sound, but more than 20 years later, it's surprising how well parts of the album hold up [...] the hooks are undeniable." He goes on to note that the restored Kimsey mix on the 2008 re-issue "blows the old, overpolished mix out of the water."[1]

Track listing

Original vinyl version

All tracks are written by Killing Joke (Jaz Coleman, Geordie Walker, Paul Raven and Paul Ferguson).

Original cassette version
Original CD version


Killing Joke


Chart (1986) Peak
UK Albums Chart 54[2]
U.S. Billboard 200 194[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e Begrand, Adrien (30 April 2008). "Fun & Games: Killing Joke in the Mid-'80s | PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Brighter Than a Thousand Suns Killing Joke - UK Official Charts". Official Charts. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  3. ^ "Killing Joke - Night Time UK Official Charts". Official Charts. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  4. ^ Hämäläinen, Jyrki "Spider" (2020). Killing Joke: Are You Receiving?, p. 104. Milton Keynes: New Haven Publishing. ISBN 978-1912587407.
  5. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "Brighter Than a Thousand Suns – Killing Joke | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195313734.
  7. ^ Cook, Richard (15 November 1986). "Killing Joke: Brighter Than A Thousand Suns (EG)***". Sounds. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  8. ^ Holtje, Steve (1999). "Killing Joke". In Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds.). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (loan required). Detroit: Visible Ink Press. pp. 629–630. ISBN 978-1-57859-061-2 – via the Internet Archive.
  9. ^ "Brighter Than a Thousand Suns – Killing Joke | Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 February 2015.

External links