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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.