Released 1998 on Mercury.
Eicca Topinnen - Cello
Antero Manninen - Cello
Paavo Lötjönen - Cello
Max Lilja - Cello
Originally Posted by my earlier review
Apocalyptica are one of the strangest bands you're ever likely to come across. A group of four people, classically trained cellists (of the Sibelius academy in Helsinki) and metal fans both, who decided to arrange Metallica songs for their chosen instruments. They started out playing acoustic shows in clubs, but their first amplified show (in December 1995) showed that they more than went across with regular metalheads - the crowd enthusiastically singing along to the vocal-less interpretations of Metallica tracks (at the time, Metallica was all they covered). Mercury snapped them up.
This album was released after Plays Metallica by Four Cellos
, and as you can see, they've moved on from covering only Metallica to covering several other bands, and even performing their own original compositions. All arrangement and notation is still managed by Eicca Topinnen, and if anything that of the covers is even better than on their debut, and is now practically flawless. Eicca is also the sole member accredited with writing the original compositions, and they show he has writing skill outside of just transcribing other bands songs; M.B.
in particular is great.
Another great problem of the previous release is gone as well - the selection of tracks. On Plays Metallica..
, the songs seemed to have been chosen based more on whether they would be recognised by people other than devoted fans of Metallica, but here, they're chosen with more of an eye for how well they'll make the transition from metal, to classical. Well, with a couple of exceptions; the choices of Domination
are surprising. Domination
is probably the lowpoint of the album. The music is fine, but the song doesn't make the transfer all that well, and without Anselmo's barked vocals, just isn't that effective (looking past the fact that I was never a fan of the song in the first place). Refuse/Resist
is better, which is especially suprising considering the heavy presence of percussion in Sepultura's music, but the drums are surprisingly well handled by cello.
I love From Out of Nowhere
, and Apocalyptica's version is amazing, making it at least the equal of the original. Unsurprisingly though, given the bands past, it's a Metallica cover which shines the brightest. One
is very well done; the intro alone shows just how much of an "emotional" instrument the cello is, clearly capable of timbre and tonality beyond that of a guitar. The famous, blazing solo is incredibly handled as well. Nothing Else Matters
is just stunning, however. It starts off mournful, and carries on to swell into a piece of music that is just incredibly beautiful - even the S&M
version can't touch it. Again, thanks to the increased tonal capabilities of the cello.
This album basically surpasses their debut, and in my opinion beats Cult
(their next release, which I do not own, but have heard, as I borrowed the special edition from a friend of mine), on which they introduced vocals. I haven't yet heard Reflections
(their latest album, with percussion now added as wel), so I can't say if this is Apocalyptica's finest work, though it's definitely the finest I've heard them at. One of the best things about Apocalyptica is that they have the potential to act as the ultimate gateway band - introducing classical fans to heavy metal*, and maybe interesting metalheads in classical enough to take the time to discover the original heavy musicians - Stravinsky, Strauss, Bach, and so on. Plus, they look cool!
What more do you want"
*the only flaw here is that Apocalyptica don't play what can be strictly called classical music. They are using classical instruments, but don't necessarily use classical techniques to play, which is fair enough, since they are playing metal songs. The principle still tends to work, though.
Has to be Nothing Else Matters
, as it's just stunning, the only problem being that is slow and melancholic. If you'd rather have a faster/heavier piece, I think M.B.
4.3/5 (I hate giving .x scores, but couldn't avoid it here)