(From Billboard magazine, US weekly, 8 November 1997.)

Kashmir: Symphonic Led Zeppelin

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Scholes

PRODUCERS: Jaz Coleman, Youth

Point 454-145

Symphonic treatments of famous rock tunes are cynical, cheesy projects doomed to failure. All except the work of one Jaz Coleman, that is. The classically trained front man for pioneering art-metal outfit Killing Joke is a crazy genius with this stuff--witness last year's huge artistic and commercial success "Symphonic Pink Floyd" and the sure-fire blockbuster "Kashmir: Symphonic Led Zeppelin." Coleman scored with the Pink Floyd disc by stressing the dark inner drama and ambient textures of the music. His grand take on Led Zeppelin is more traditionally idiomatic and extroverted yet just as inspired, emphasizing the disparate strains of Middle Eastern exoticism and Celtic pastoralism inherent in the band's compositions. The standouts are an eerie "Friends" and the powerful title track, but against all odds, "All My Love" and "Stairway To Heaven" also receive new, emotive leases on life thanks to Coleman's visionary arrangements. Sincere and vibrant, "Kashmir" is crossover with class.