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Uniquely ass-kicking, as always - 92%

OSheaman, July 24th, 2003

This shit rules.

In case you haven't read my other reviews, let me re-emphasize what's so cool about Apocalyptica. Apocalyptica is a group of cellists who have a drummer and a bass guitar and play Heavy Metal. They started out as a unique Metallica tribute band, but they have evolved into a genuine Heavy Metal band that writes their own songs and just generally kicks a lot of ass. The cellos are hooked up to amps and can slam out riffs with the best of them, and the skill of all the musicians involved is enormous. This band is a novelty; true, but unlinke many novelties, it has a lot of replay value. In short, Apocalyptica is a band with a unique and original idea that took that idea and turned it into something really amazing.

The band continues to produce quality music in their first completely original, cover-less album, Reflections. The quality of the cello playing is at an all-time high in this latest endeavor, and they have branched out in terms of their sound, so that while Cult may have tended to get a little repetitive, Reflections is a varied collection of amazing music. Plus the cover artwork is really cool.

Highlights are all over the album. The band starts off by kicking ass immediately in the Prologue (Apprehension) with a huge riffage opener than comes down into a solo cello playing above the other cellos, who hold a really awesome and steady beat that will have you headbanging in no time at all. Then we get into No Education, which has a very simple yet amazingly catchy melody that is played over a constant steam of riffs by the rhythm cellos. I should mention that the drumming is great; it's always noticeable, but the drummer never overpowers the cellos and knows when to back off and let the intese soloing through; either the mixing was very well-done, or Dave Lombardo really knows his shit (which, given his history, is what I would go with). Regardless, the next song is Faraway, which opens with a piano solo that leads into an absolutely haunting cello solo that completely gives me goosebumps every time I hear the damn thing. It's that good, and that beautiful; we're talking about really sappy and intense playing from the soul. Pass the cheesewhiz if you must, but I mean it; this is what makes a band like Apocalyptica such a great idea. Anyway, next up is Somewhere Around Nothing, which brings us back into more thrashy headbanging. Drive features a very unique middle section with some rather odd noises coming from the cellos, but it is very tastefully done and doesn't degenerate into some sort of wankery festival. All the songs on here have different riffs and beats, and the album never really gets boring, but there's no point in me listing every individual song. I should mention Toreador II, which is a really fast song that has a REALLY FUCKING FAST cello solo section and a cool little trumpet part that makes it sound authentically Spanish.

Is it worth the money? Absolutely! The band has really progressed since the days of Plays Metallica, and they have now developed into a fully mature, coherent sound that is the equal or better of 90% of the bands out there. As I said, stop pining over the missing guitars and go buy this right now. You won't be disappointed at all.