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Original, but not really a Metal Breakthrough... - 59%

Karth, May 14th, 2005

I was like "hey, Metallica songs played on cellos, now that's something you don't see everyday" when I first saw the album, and that's what it is exactly, Metallica classicals played by a cello quartet, looking at the album list, it didn't really have all my personal favorites.
But that was also a problem in the album, it was only played on four cellos, there wasn't any drums alongside them to give them that impact, some songs like "Enter Sandman" sounded very weak without that drums, "master of puppets" is okay, then comes a very retarded sounding "harvester of sorrow" and it sounds really REALLY bad (I stopped listening to the album after the album thinking I'll give it another chance some other time after I listen to something else)... The "unforgiven" doesn't sound that bad from what I think, in fact it does sound quite atmospheric, but I think Apocalyptica made a big mistake wasting thier time covering "Sad but true", not only do I personally dislike the song, but even for a cover it doesn't make it any better. "Creeping Death" has the same issue about sounding weak without the drums. the last two songs "Wherever I roam" and "Sanitarium" though are probably the best two songs in the album, sounding wonderfully moody.

Maybe the album doesn't really come to my appeal because I'm not really that much a fan of Metallica, from what I think there are 3 solid tracks out of 8 tracks while the rest is either really bad or mediocre. If you are a hardcore Metallica fan and have an open mind for something somewhat different, then this would be a nice piece for your collection.

Better than S&M - 60%

Vim_Fuego, August 7th, 2004

This is one of those hard ones to decide on. OK, so it's Metallica tunes, but played by a cello quartet? Have Monty Python gotten back together? Surely, this takes the piss!

But no, here it is, and it doesn't sound half bad. Four Finnish guys, looking like Amorphis' roadcrew, sawing away at antique instruments (one was made in 1738!), and producing some of the most bizarre interpretations of these songs you will ever hear. And it's just cellos — no percussion, no guitars, no singing, and no amplification.

Without the drums and the amps, some songs, and parts of songs, simply do not work. "Enter Sandman" is a prime example. It is too simplistic to do cellos justice. The introductory riff to "Harvester Of Sorrow" also sounds wrong. However, as that particular song progresses, each instrument plays a different guitar line, while one follows the vocal harmony. The end product is something which sounds like a modernist avant–garde Classical composition.

However, Metallica did include classical guitar elements in some of their songs, which do work with cellos. The intricacies of the middle passage of "Master Of Puppets" are given new life. The plucked strings and melancholic introduction to "The Unforgiven" also work well, but then go down the toilet once the vocal melody kicks in. "Sanitarium" is probably the best of the bunch, as Apocalyptica's interpretation is sensitive at times, but then also as heavy as you're ever going to hear four cellos get, unless they fall on your head.

On a whole, this is a novelty album, plain and simple. It also shows that no matter how good they are/were at penning memorable metal anthems, Metallica and classical music just don't mix. It also shows Apocalyptica are incredibly talented at what they do, as some of the material they have to work with is decidedly mediocre. This is an album for Metallica enthusiasts who enjoyed 'Load' and 'Re–Load', and can stomach 'S&M'. For everyone else, it is of curiosity value only.

Pure Novelty - 55%

Symphony_Of_Terror, March 25th, 2004

This right here is the definition of a novelity band. A band that makes music for the novelty of it, in this case a band that does covers just to have people listen to them say 5 times and say "how interesting". While there is nothing wrong with being a novelty band...they are rarely good and there lasting appeal is about as long as mayonaise left out in the sun in mid july. Well this band follows the trend of a novelty band, making music thats interesting and the coolest thing in the world for about 5 days, then you forget about it and go back to your metal. For a novelty band they are good though, they did something different. Covers are nothing different, but a band covering 80's thrash songs and some 90's heavy metal songs with chello's and still making them sound metal is different. This certainly makes for a better experiance that listening to modern Metallica.

The music on this album is indeed interesting and enjoyable for sometime. The band seems to hit there high notes when they cover the slower songs like The Unforgiven. Here the chello sounds more classical and smoother, producing more emotional notes. For the 80's thrash songs they cover like Creeping Death and Master Of Puppets the chello's do sound pretty metal. They are fast, deep/heavy, and played very well. They give the songs a more Apocalyptic feel, like the world is coming to an end. Like I said this all sounds so cool at first...but then you realize these are just imcomplete songs. They are just 4 chello's, imagine Metallica trying to play their songs with 4 guitars...its just lacking.

I give the band credit for being unique and making everything from the black album by Metallica sound better(really, the black album played on chello by theses guys sounds much better than played by Metallica) and also making their other works into something different and scarier. If you can find this for cheap buy it, its a nice novelty album thats pretty light for metal but also dark and apocalyptic. Buy this if your into novelty bands or chello's. Its most certainly the worst work of Apocalyptica, but not horrible, just average, maybe slightly above average.

Original and very well-done cover album - 85%

OSheaman, July 16th, 2003

Sure, it's only a cover album, but I'll bet you wish that you had thought of it.

Apocalyptica introduces itself to the world with their first album, an original cover of the best Metallica songs (you know, when Metallica was a real metal band, as opposed to the dog shit they are today) played by four cellos hooked up to amps. And you know what? Cellos can play some pretty awesome riffs when they want to. There aren't any vocals on the album (instead, one of the cellos plays the melody being sung), but the classic melodies are there and any old-school Metallica fan will soon be headbanging to their favorite tunes.

Granted, Apocalyptica's work is more of a novelty than that of an actual band, at least with this first album (the band exapns its sound in later albums to include original works and eventually adding some more traditional metal instruments, i.e. drums, guitar, etc.). But it's very entertaining, and the sound of the cellos provides a unique twist to many of the songs. As a violin player who works with a lot of cellos, I can attest to the skill with which these guys play their cellos, and the idea of playing Heavy Metal on a classical instrument goes off very smoothly in the album.

The highlight of the album is the cover version of The Unforgiven, one of Metallica's more mournful, ballad-type classics. It's a beautiful song, and it sounds really great when played on the cellos with long, flowing sounds and great uses of dynamics to accentuate the stylistic beauty of the song. Other songs that come off really well are Master of Puppets (the cello playing the melody is raw and ass-kicking, just like Hetfield's vocals), Creeping Death (it just sounds so . . . so damn cool!) and Welcome Home (Sanitarium) (excellent use of pizzicato [plucking the string instead of bowing it] to contrast with the melody).

Not all of the covers come off without a hitch, however. Enter Sandman is interesting, but it doesn't really mirror the feeling of the opening part of the song very well at all, and Harvester of Sorrow is done a bit too slowly, and just doesn't have the power required to play the opening (and the rest of the song sucks even when Metallica plays it, so there's really no point in anything except the opening 1:30 or so). In general, however, the covers are true to the melody and the feeling behind the songs.

This is something that any Metallica fan should have, as well as anybody who thinks classical instruments are sissy and can't play any *real* music.