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Emancipation - 87%

kluseba, June 30th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2003, CD + DVD, Universal Music Group (Digipak, special edition)

Reflection is Apocalyptica's last full length instrumental record to date and also its most diversified in this regard. It"s also the group's first album without any cover tracks and exemplifies the band's great leap forward in terms of self-confidence, identity and evolution in general.

The band varies from heavier tracks with additional drumming by no other than Slayer's Dave Lombardo on tracks like the engaging ''Somewhere Around Nothing'', offers gloomier songs that could have been included on intense predecessor Cult such as the ominous ''Cohkka'', contrasts such tracks with adventurous ballads like the beautiful ''Faraway'' and also offers experiments such as ''Toreador II'' with additional trumpet sounds that give the song a lively Latin American folk vibe.

The record's special edition, entitled Reflections Revised, is comparable to the one of predecessor Cult. It includes, among other elements, a haunting cover version of Rammstein's gloomy ballad ''Seemann'' with German punk legend Nina Hagen on vocals who gives a truly expressive performance. This is one of the few cases where I prefer the cover version over the original track which was already great. You can almost feel the stormy waves hit you in the face on a dark night while listening to this atmospheric masterpiece. Things get even better with an alternative version of the dreamy ballad ''Faraway'' that gets additional vocals by Lambretta singer Linda Sundblad who gives an already intense song an even more soulful and almost sexy appeal.

Reflections is one of Apocalyptica's finest hours and shows how diversified the mixture of classical music with cellos and occasional pianos and trumpets on one side and heavy metal song writing structures with drums and additional percussive elements can sound. The record exemplifies Apocalyptica's emancipation and grows with every single spin. It can rightfully be considered a symphonic metal classic in hindsight. If there were only one record to represent the band and what made it famous in the first place, this album would be the ideal choice because of its stunning diversity.