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...And they don't even need guitars! - 84%

RageW, September 20th, 2008

Apocalyptica is a Finnish band which used to play Metallica covers using cellos, but in this album they just use original material. These professional cellists also called for Dave Lombardo to play drums on this album; and the fucker really has his shit going, since his playing plus the production allows the drums to sound great while not drowning the cellos completely. And yeah, I'd call this cello "metal", they don't need guitars to be heavy, but just making cellos riffs--Yeah, thats right, cello riffs.

It's kinda sad, that a band that uses no guitars at all sounds heavier than some bands that use absurdly distorted distortion over their absurdly downtuned downtuning. Apocalyptica makes use of riffs the way they're supposed to be; by having them be the backbone of the songs, while they inject inhumanly fast solos over everything. The album starts with a bang with "Prologue (Apprehension)", which is really catchy (Reflections is catchy by itself, though), it doesn't really have shreddy cello solos, but it's very fast paced, and since it's catchy it already has half the job done. However, there are no weak tracks at all, just some songs which even though they aren't BAD per se, aren't very godly either. But it's really hard to compete against, say, that awesome lick at 1:16 in "No Education", it sounds beautiful, and thanks to Mr. Lombardo, it manages to sound heavy!

I'd say that the most emotional and beautiful track is "Farway", it starts with a piano, and a very mellow cello melody. I like how, even though they're using cellos, which are mostly used in classical music, this sounds like a metal (or at least rock) album, probably it's the way they're used, by having some sustained chords behind the melodies. "Farway" gets intenser every second; the cellos get louder and the music much more emotional. I love those cello's vibrato, it sounds much deeper than a guitar's, at 3:00 it gets even better, with the beautiful backing which sounds natural since they don't use keyboards, but real instruments! I can feel my neck hair tingling in the last minute of "Farway", it's some of the most beautiful music I have heard.

But enough of beautiful and soft stuff, theres fucking "Somewhere Around Nothing"! It's the second best track in here, and it kicks ass in every way imaginable, the cellos seriously sound like they were singing, and I can almost hear them saying "somewhere around nothing" during the song's 'chorus'. Who needs a voice when you have a fucking cello anyways?! I really like it, it's almost a classic metal song in itself, with the riffs and the 'voiced' cello! Obviously this is complete when Lombardo comes with his drum fills, and then there's a weird distorted part at 2:09, full of fucking INSANE drum fills, then it builds up tension with chords (DAMN THEY'RE REAL, NO SYNTHS! YAY!) and then the last chorus once again...I can almost sing along to it, heh.

Then there are songs like "Cohkka", which is very slow, almost doomish. "Conclusion" is another 'ballad', though it doesn't have shit on "Farway" (what does, anyways?). "Pandemonium" is very fun, it sounds like a march or something, with some melodies that sound slightly arabic. Then--You guessed it! A solo out of fucking nowhere! Why don't all the songs have these? You have some march-like riff, and then when least expected, A FUCKING SHRED SOLO! The solo on "Pandenomium" is insane, proves what you can do with 1000 notes in a short period of time!

Ok, on to the best track now--Fucking "Toreador II", that is! It has Lombardo doing some cool double-bass drum beats, and a very brooding melody over the cello riffs, damn how do they come up with those? Apocalyptica is able to incorporate evil melodies on their songs without sounding forced, and there's a little shreddy solo before the song explodes in a 4/4 beat and a very heavy riff, with more of those 'vocal cellos' over it. I swear that if they had done lyrics, they wouldn't even need a singer! "Toreador" is a fucked up way of saying "Torero", which means "bullfighter" (at least in Spanish), and so, they have a very Spanish sounding trumpet playing a melody, until there's this fucking insane cello solo, which is probably the fastest cello solo I have ever heard, out of all of them (I don't know how many they are, but it's fucking fast). "Toreador II" then fades away with that magnificent solo, and the last track, "Epilogue (Relief)" comes. It's probably the only track which can compete against "Farway", it's very mellow, full of emotion, I really wish they had came up with lyrics for this one, even if nobody is singing, they shouldn't take away my privilege of doing it at home!

"Reflections" is a very beautiful, kickass, heavy, yet soft, but still awesome, album. Yes, I used all those adjectives, and they're accurate, since you can have anything you want in here--Heavyness, shred, ballads, emotion, it's all packaged here. The only problem is that it's just a tad overlong, and that if they wanted to make such godly songs as "Somewhere Around Nothing" or "Toreador II" or fucking "Faraway"...Then they should have made more hehe. Get this at full price, it's worth it, a catchy, shreddy, beautiful, and HEAVY album!