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Timeless - 94%

kluseba, January 11th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, CD, Silver Lining Music

Finnish quartet Apocalyptica goes back to its instrumental roots on Cell-0 and delivers its best studio album since its self-titled effort fifteen years ago. The nine songs clock in at nearly fifty-four minutes and make this inspired release an early candidate for album of the year. Fans who were craving for the band's sinister sounds as heard on Cult or the group's more adventurous approach on Reflections will finally get what they have been waiting for so long. The band's weakness for thrash metal inspired by the group's recent world tour in support of the twentieth anniversary of its debut album also shines through as multiple songs recall trademark sounds by Metallica, Sepultura and Slayer in the heavier moments.

Among the highlights, one has to cite the ambitious, adventurous and creative title track ''Cell-0'' that is the most entertaining song on the release despite being by far the longest tune with a length of almost ten minutes. Those who like Apocalyptica a little bit more structured, melodic and focused will certainly appreciate ''Rise'' as another shining highlight on this output. If you want the Finnish masterminds to sound more aggressive, chaotic and relentless, the appropriately titled ''En Route to Mayhem'' will tear your heads off. Another outstanding song is album closer ''Beyond the Stars'' that enters progressive territories with a short spoken word passage recalling Avenged Sevenfold's record The Stage and its shining highlight ''Exist'' in particular.

There are only a few things the band could improve from here. The canny drum sound in the opener ''Ashes of the Modern World'' recalls Metallica's St. Anger which isn't necessary at all. Actually, if the band decided to go completely back to its roots, the drums wouldn't be necessary at all. This record also features a few minor electronic soundscapes in order to keep the album diversified. Again, those keyboard sounds weren't necessary as the music offered by the three cellos is diversified enough to carry this record on its own.

Despite those little complaints, Apocalyptica's Cell-0 is an adventurous, creative and heavy record of classical music that entertains from start to finish with a balanced mixture of aggressive and smooth, fast and slow, short and long songs. Anyone who likes classical music or heavy and thrash metal should check this brilliant record out. Apocalyptica manages to go back to its roots with much inspiration without ever sounding old-fashioned but timeless instead.