Night Time was released in March 1985 by record label E.G. It was an international hit, reaching number 11 in the United Kingdom, number 8 in New Zealand and number 50 in Sweden.
The album was remastered and reissued in 2008, with nine bonus tracks. The bonus tracks include the non-album single "A New Day", three remixes and four tracks from a 1984 Kid Jensen BBC radio session.
In his retrospective review, Ned Raggett of AllMusic opines that the album finds the band's music "caught between their earlier aggression and a calmer, more immediately accessible approach. This turned out to be the band's Achilles heel in the end, with later albums in the '80s evidence that the group had turned into an unbelievably boring, generic modern rock band. At this point, however, the tension between the two sides had a perfect balance, and as a result, Night Time is arguably the quartet's freshest album since its debut, with a warm, anthemic quality now supplementing the blasting, driving approach that made the band's name". Adrian Begrand of PopMatters opined that, with the album, the band "perfected" their "balance between antagonism and accessibility" and that "the band are simply on fire on this record".
The song "Eighties" is claimed to have been copied by Nirvana for their 1991 song "Come as You Are", primarily because the riffs of both songs are so similar. A lawsuit, claimed by Kerrang!, was issued against Nirvana by Killing Joke for appropriation of the riff. Because no accusation was recorded, Kerrang! claimed that it was dropped shortly after Kurt Cobain's death in 1994. According to Rolling Stone, Killing Joke did not file a copyright infringement lawsuit, because of "personal and financial reasons". However, conflicting reports, such as Kerrang!, have stated differently.
A reassured interview with guitarist Geordie Walker in December of that year later proved that a lawsuit was issued after the manager of Nirvana responded rudely, saying "Boo, never heard of ya!".
In light of the events that occurred from 1992 to 1994, Dave Grohl took it upon himself to pay a sort of restitution for the appropriation by drumming on the 2003 album Killing Joke. Grohl is a long-time, vocal fan of Killing Joke, and has stated that he lobbied the band to be allowed to play on the album.