Jaz Coleman & The St. Petersburg Orchestra
‘Magna Invocatio – A Gnostic Mass for Choir and Orchestra Inspired by the Sublime Music of Killing Joke’
By Adam McCann
For such an influential figure in music, Jaz Coleman remains somewhat anonymous. Cutting his teeth and forging his legacy with Killing Joke, the band became masters of noise, post-punk, industrial, metal, reggae and deep-dub. Meanwhile, Coleman, never content to rest upon his laurels has also spent the last 30 years working on classical music, releasing a string of classical compositions with himself at the conductor’s helm. This year has Coleman returning with the St. Petersburg Orchestra with ‘Magna Invocatio – A Gnostic Mass for Choir and Orchestra Inspired by the Sublime Music of Killing Joke’ to celebrate the music of the band which made Coleman who he is today.
As a collection of music, ‘Magna Invocatio…’ could well be Coleman’s Magnum Opus, the songs chosen to represent the Killing Joke music are a wide spectrum from the bands career and arranged in a way that would make the listener doubt that they were listening to Killing Joke at all. It is here that the beauty of this album lies; this is not an album of classical instruments playing second fiddle to guitars, keyboards, drums and bass with Coleman’s distinctive rasp lurching over the top; no, this is a high-brow appreciation of intricate melodies and arrangements that give these tracks not just a whole new life, but a completely different meaning.
For the standard rock, punk and metal fan, ‘Magna Invocatio…’ might be a difficult pill to swallow; to fully appreciate the work that Coleman and the St. Petersburg Orchestra have put into this is to completely detach yourself from Killing Joke. But the trade off gives the listener something new, something soothing, relaxing and beautiful that can be appreciated by everyone, anyone, at any time.
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann