Magna Invocatio: A Gnostic Mass For Choir And Orchestra Inspired By The Sublime Music Of Killing Joke by Jaz Coleman

Release date: November 29, 2019
Label: Spinefarm Records

Jaz Coleman’s latest project, Magna Invocatio: A Gnostic Mass For Choir And Orchestra Inspired By The Sublime Music Of Killing Joke sees the Killing Joke frontman team up with the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra to recreate a selection of his bands tracks in sublime fashion.

Throughout his career, there has always been a sense of grandiose when it comes to Coleman and indeed Killing Joke, and he has always seemed larger than life and this was always reflected in the lyrics, music and stage presence of Killing Joke. It was not always obvious in amongst the acerbic defiance that spilt out but it was always there and this sense of grandiose spills from the speakers in the same way as you listen to these classical reimagined versions of Killing Joke classics, and it sounds nothing but triumphant. The tracks selected are from a variety of albums from throughout the band’s career, and this shows how the bands music has developed through time but is also cohesive when it comes to this piece of work.


Opening with the joyful ‘Absolute Descent Of Light’ is the perfect way to begin proceedings with its victorious grandeur, while the mournful ’The Raven King’ that follows adds another vibe and feels more like a tribute to the bands former bassist than the original track. Onwards tracks like ’Absent Friends’, ’Into The Unknown’, ’Honour The Fire’ and the perfectly titled ’Euphoria’ show the depth of the music of Killing Joke and honour the bands original versions while truly taking on a life of their own.

The fact that these tracks are performed in a classical fashion by Coleman and the orchestra works extremely well and is a universe away from the usual band working with an orchestra in terms of its execution with the addition of a choir when required works very well. It is at times harrowing and bleak but ultimately uplifting and that captures the feeling of Killing Joke wonderfully. This album is a grand undertaking but is pulled off perfectly by both Coleman and the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and is a wonderful and triumphant tribute to the work of Killing Joke, one of the best and most underrated British bands ever and will delight and uplift in equal measure.

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