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Pretty Solid - 85%

McTague97, December 25th, 2014

For best results lets split these tracks into 3 categories. Metallica covers, other covers and original songs. The Metallica covers are all well done, as proven by its predecessor the guys know how to get it done and they have only improved their craft since then. Vocal melodies, bass lines, guitar riffs and solos all almost seamlessly turned into cello melodies into a sort of 4 man symphony. You wouldn't believe how stunningly great Metallica's compositions really were from a musical stance (music in general, not just metal) until you replace the heaviness with beauty.

This works best with Nothing Else Matters, obviously because of how relaxed and soft the original one was, the acoustic guitar melody translated to cello becomes more beautiful and equally as touching, pretty much set in stone this one would work though, let's try another one like... For Whom the Bell Tolls. Sadly, it doesn't have that classic bell opening or any of the drumming. However all the melodies are tightly performed. You can hear string plucking on the intro to really capture the nature of the riff being played. Despite the lack of drumming the rhythmics are still there.

Next come the other covers, 1 from Faith No More, 1 from Pantera and 2 from Sepultura. From Faith No More we get From Out of Nowhere, probably the most upbeat of the song selection. I would have hoped for one of FNM's more funk styled songs to hear how it would come out, but alas this one is more rock oriented so the result doesn't stand out from the others nearly as much as it could. Sepultura's covers are actually heavier then Metallica's and the cover of Inquisition was the best of all the covers. Refuse/Resist for example is where the distortion on the cello is mostly clearly present.

Pantera was also covered, remember what I said about Metallica, here its the opposite, take away how heavy it is and it's a one way rollercoaster to wanting to shred your ears, granted I was never a Pantera fan to begin with but man this was lame. The distortion allows them to make unusual sounds with the cellos making up for sections where a cello wouldn't normally go but it still doesn't match up to the missing screeches and squeals typical to Dimebag's style. They also pluck quite a bit more here to make some of the one note riffs more emphasized.

Finally we have the original songs, they are some of the best tracks to be found, beautiful, intense and about as heavy as a four man symphony will ever get. If these had been done with conventional metal instruments they would be both melodic but also heavy as fuck. They make good use of the distortion to provide heavier rhythmic sections while the others lay off the distortion to provide melodies more front and center. They lean farther away from typical song structure as well making them distinctive.

The best part though is that they played it very well, I can only imagine that these 4 men are amazing at the instruments they play. True virtuosos, I can't imagine this was easy for them at all. Keep in mind though, this really is more of a novelty then anything else and even the band that made it left the idea for something else to albums in to their career.

I’m confused… Pantera and cellos? - 79%

sepultribe, May 31st, 2005

Yes, this is a very strange little project. A metal cover band (at least for the time being) that covers brutal songs from bands such as Metallica, Pantera, and Sepultura with string instruments. This is very similar to the infamous String Quartet group that does those shitty tribute albums to Linkin Park and U2. But this is metal. You would at first thought think this sucks. Well actually it’s quite good and in certain cases these covers are more enjoyable than the originals. For instance, you wouldn’t think listening to One, one more goddamn time, would be interesting. Well replace the guitars, drums, and Hetfield’s dumbass with cellos and you have yourself a trip. The album is overall good but it has its ups and downs.

On the previous album it was nothing but Metallica covers. Starting with this album they began to write more and more original material and straying away from covers. But like everything they had to start off small, with just 3 originals. Harmageddon begins very softly and then busts into some cool cello “riff” interplay with a third melody played over it. Many disagree with the fact that Apocalyptica rules at writing originals but yes. They do. This song is very badass and goes through several stages and time changes. The music really makes it seem as if you’re listening to a metal song, which I’m sure is what they were going for. It starts to slow down 3 minutes into it but comes back with a “chorus” like part that’s pretty emotive giving you a dense atmosphere. It definitely fits its name. M.B. is the second best track on the album. I don’t know what the name means but oh well it kicks ass. Like I said, these guys can fucking write riffs. Like in Harmageddon they have the duel riffing cellos with a cool melody/solo cello belting out leads. Listen to that middle section; you can almost taste the atmosphere. Toreador however is a very boring track. Skippable at best.

They still have 4 Metallica covers but they throw some weirder shit in like a Faith No More cover, some Sepultura covers, and a Pantera cover. Not being a fan of Faith No More, their cover is the only song I’m not familiar with but it sounds kind of dull when Apocalyptica does it. The gems of album are the Sepultura covers. Refuse/Resist sounds just as fucking heavy as the real song. The way they mimic Max’s vocal pattern is musical gold really. I have to give the soloist a hand. This is the only song that they don’t tack off a couple minutes off of as well. Inquisition Symphony, the title track, was the best track on Schizophrenia and they cover it beautifully. I was amazed the first time I heard them shredding like that on cellos. Highlight of the album. The Pantera cover another track you can skip on the album. Pantera and cellos is something that should never be mixed… ever. Domination is a wonderful song but you can’t reinvent the aggression of Phil’s vocals or Dimebag’s leads. Also the “drums” get very annoying.
We’ve all heard these Metallica songs so there isn’t much to comment on except a few highlights. You think Fade to Black was full of emotion? Well Apocalyptica has it in spades and put it to good use in both this, One, AND Nothing Else Matters. I guess they figured it’s easier to use cellos with more emotional music than groove metal.

The covers are good but Apocalyptica, probably realizing it was time to become a real band, starting putting out the excellent stuff after this album. If you like this, definitely check out Cult or Reflections. Or if you only liked the Metallica covers you can always take a step back with the debut.

MUCH better than the Debut - 80%

Karth, May 26th, 2005

Well this is much better than the debut if you ask me, now they got the metallica songs I really like and also some music from bands I've only heard of and never heard thier music including some originals, treat! I mean the cellos are a nice touch on metal covers but I think it's about time we heard some originals from everyone's favorite cello quartet.

The album starts with an Apocalyptica original "Harmageddon", sounds quite psychotic with all the screeching in between (and in some parts it sounds like Danni Filth from Cradle of Filth wailing in the background), but it is moody and melancholic, and there are some parts that sound like Priest-ish octaves, which gives a nice touch. Quite a pleasing track all round.

Then comes "From out of nowhere" now this is a cover for Faith No More, a band I haven't heard to date, but this song is giving me a good impression. It doesn't sound really heavy compared to the other tracks on the album, but I like it's pace.

Now for another Metallica cover, "For Whom The Bell Tolls" is one of the more moody tracks on the album, I haven't heard the original, but this quite good.

After that comes the favorite "Nothing Else Matters", which sounds billions of times better than the original, the cellos give more atmosphere and mood than what metallica did. This track would make any metal hater think twice.

"Refuse/Resist" comes next, a Sepultura classic or so many sepultura tell me. I haven't heard much of Sepultura (not needing to mention that I'm not much of a thrash metal fan myself). it's one of the heaviest tracks in the album, where the cellos sound like grinding machines in some parts, which does give an interesting touch.

Another original by Apocalyptica comes next, strangely called "M.B.", man-butt, mostly-bull, major-bull, mentally-boring, megabeth... I really don't know what it stands for. it's not really a bad track, I just don't like the first part of it, but halfway it suddenly turns into some creepy quite melody that quickens up. half a classic I'd say.

Another favorite which surprisingly is a sepultura cover, the title track of the album "Inquisition Symphony". I really like the solo in this, wonderfully played, though I haven't heard the the original to this, but I doubt it comes any better than this cover, it's very aggressive and moody, one of the heaviest tracks in the album aswell.

"Fade To Black" is next, another Metallica cover, wonderful intro that gives it a good melancholic mood at the start. then it picks up beautifully in the end.

and now for something completley different, a Pantera cover, "Domination" is a nice track, if you ask me, it sounds quite strange in the beginning. but it's the only track in the album that sounds alot like the stuff in the debut album done better even without the drums.

"Toreador" is the last of the originals in this album, it's the best of the three, it's heavier than the first two. The aggressiveness in this is nice and it's very steady. Beautiful is the only word to describe it.

To conlude this album yet anothe metallica cover, "One", one of my favorite tracks in the album, and once again much better than the original, yes believe me, the even the solo sounds better here, and the intro to this absolutley beautiful and it smoothly gets better as it changes, the heavy bit of the track sounds awesome.

Once again an album that's done without any precussion whatsoever, but this sounds miles better than the debut, Apocalyptica has improved greatly with the release of this album, if you didn't like "Apocalyptica plays Metallica on four cellos", give them a second chance and give this a try, you won't be dissapointed.

Tip: listen to Apocalyptica with a bass boost on thier music for the ultimate Apocalyptic experience

Needs better covers - 60%

Symphony_Of_Terror, March 14th, 2004

This album reaches its high points in their covers, which there are plenty of. The highest point of the covers are the metallica ones. The sepultura covers are the second best, followed by the Pantera then Faith no More. All the covers are better than the origonal material preformed by Apocalyptica. Its my opinion that the band doesn't have very good song writing skills of their own, thats why at this point in their career stuck to the covers...that and to be labeled as metal and to get people to notice them.

The cover are done very well, I would choose to listen to these covers over the origonal songs any day. In part because I have heard the metallica songs a million times, and in part they suck when played by Metallica. It seems when this band plas the covers of Metallica they sound different and unique, they really do well in converting them from their orignal purpose as thrash metal songs into neo-classical metal songs, that in itself seems to take some thought and talent. I was never much of a fan or a fan at all of the other bands, so the other covers songs and their orignals were not well known to me. For that reason they come second to the metallica ones, also to me they seem less interesting, but I can't blame the band for that, since they didn't write it, that fault goes to the original writers of the songs.

The origonal material has nothing to boast about. Its boring and nothing happens in it. I would just blame this on the bands inexperiance, and up to this point I would label them a cover band because their origonal material is bad, like the stuff of early cover bands. The best songs on this album are the Metallica covers Nothing Else Matters and One. I think they should have chosen better songs to cover to make this album great. As it is its more of a novelty album, rather mediocre. Their are 4 good Metallica Covers, and two decent other songs, so I gave 10 points per listenable song.

Another excellent mostly-cover album - 88%

OSheaman, July 16th, 2003

I would probably have rated this better, except there are too many covers on here to really warrant an 'A' rating. I would also have rated it worse had it not been for the fact that the challenge of playing celo covers of some of the more ass-kicking songs in metal and still managing to beat the shit out of the listener is handled very well by these very talented gentlemen.

The covers are a bit more diverse on the album, and the amount of sound produced by the cellos is increased, both of which contribute to this album's higher replay value than Plays Metallica by Four Cellos. The playing is more aggressive (neccessary for the Sepultura covers on here), but there is also a lot of beautiful ballad playing on a very romantic instument (the cello) as well.

The most brutal stuff on here is without a doubt the two Sepultura covers and the Pantera cover. Out of these, the most successful cover is Inquisition Symphony, which is extremely well-done and will have you headbanging in no time (I won't really review the actual song, but the general idea is a slow, quiet buildup into a climax and then several minutes of non-stop thrash). The other Sepultura cover on here, Refuse, Resist, has all the intensity of the real thing, although my favorite part of the actual song (the opening back-and-forth playing of the guitars and the conga drums [or whatever they are]) is only reproduced fairly well (the cello players slap their instruments to mimic the drums). The Pantera cover, Domination, just doesn't really do it for me (it's really hard to reproduce Phil Anselmo's rather unique vocals on any instrument, let alone a cello).

Apparantly sensing that the most successful song on the last album was The Unforgiven, Apocalyptica has decided to do covers of Metallica's two other classic ballads (Fade to Black and One), and they both sound fantastic. The haunting opening of Fade to Black is well-reproduced by a combination of light pizzicato (string plucking) and a beautifully played reproduction of the opening guitar solo. The cellos blend really well with each other, and the effect is incredible (and the "vocals" played by the lead cello, in my opinion, sound much better than Hetfield's rough voice in the ballad). The other ballad, One, lacks the really poignant opening sounds of war that are in the actual song, but is again well-reproduced with a combination of pizzicato and beautiful playing. Every note is on, and the musicians know exactly what to bring out and what to push back. This is excellent musicianship combined with beautiful songs; a really great combination.

The three original songs on here are pretty good, but Apocalyptica doesn't really get their shit together in terms of original songs until the next album, Cult. This album has some incredible covers, though, and it is really worth the money.