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Apocalyptica > Live > Reviews
Apocalyptica - Live

Purity and Simplicity of the Early Years - 90%

kluseba, June 26th, 2022
Written based on this version: 2001, DVD, Island Records

Live might be a bland title for the first concert release by Finnish symphonic metal quartet Apocalyptica but this is actually a damn fine output that has aged particularly well and captures the band's early years splendidly. Back in those years, Apocalyptica simply consisted of four cellists who mostly played covers of famous heavy metal songs from the eighties and nineties with a few first own compositions that were oozing with dramatic, elegant and gloomy atmosphere that might actually please members of the gothic scene more than the occasional metal fan. Another element that made the band sound pure and simple was the fact that there was no drummer involved yet and that no guest singers appeared on stage. The focus is entirely on the cellos, so fans of strictly classical music should also enjoy this concert recorded in a small but atmospheric setting in Munich.

The concert covers seventeen songs and roughly ninety minutes of energetic, inspired and playful music. Among the cover songs, one can easily point out the soulful rendition of Metallica's ballad ''Nothing Else Matters'' that might even outclass the original version, the dystopian, gloomy and menacing version of Sepultura's ''Inquisition Symphony'' and the brutal, fast and rhythmic take on Sepultura's ''Refuse / Resist''. Sure, it would have been great to cover more than just two metal bands but the versions offered here are certainly played with much passion.

Among the band's own material, the most outstanding tracks in my ears are the dramatic and heavy ''M.B.'', the excellent mixture of angst and melancholy on ''Harmageddon'' and the slow but soulful ''Path'' that doesn't need any additional vocals in my book.

One also has to point out the band's rendition of Edvard Grieg's ''Hall of the Mountain King'' that sounds like a twisted dystopian nightmare of the original tune and ends the concert on a high note in seven chaotic, creative and memorable minutes. This rendition of this particular song is perhaps one of the most balanced mixtures of classical music and heavy metal ever created. So-called symphonic metal bands that are essentially composing overambitious rock operas with female pop vocals should listen and take notes.

This release also includes some excellent bonus material in form of seven music videos, including a very rare version of ''Little Drummerboy''. These music videos have been crafted with much creativity and love that outweigh the lack of budget by a mile. The settings for these music videos always match the moods of the different songs perfectly. Just watch and be amazed.

As you can read, Apocalyptica's Live represents the band's early years better than any other release and has aged particularly well in my opinion. If you can still find this output someplace on the internet or in some dusty second-hand store as in my case, don't hesitate to invest a few hard-earned bucks into this release, put it on your television at home, grab an ice-cold beer and enjoy two hours of entertainment to the fullest.