on March 25, 2004
What happens when you take four classically trained cellists who have a love for heavy metal? You get the group Apocalyptica. This group crosses the metal sounds of Metallica, Faith No More, Sepultura, and Pantera with the classical sounds of strings. I've always believed strings would make a good addition to a heavy metal group, and Apocalyptica did just that running their four cellos through distortion. The amazing thing about "Inquisition Symphony" is that there are no other instruments. The full, heavy and thundering sound is just four cellos. The ability to take true head-banger music and play it on the cello without losing any intensity is truly incredible. Eicca Toppinen, Antero Mannienen, Paavo Lotjonen, and Max Lilja are great musicians.
There is a great sampling of heavy metal on this album that is more than just a tribute to the heavy metal bands. The classic Metallica "Fade to Black" is so well played. The haunting melody carried on the undistorted strings of a single cello before the others join in bringing the weight of the song. This proves that Metallica does belong in a symphony hall. Another good example is "One". The song almost sounds like a classical piece until the crescendo of distorted strings mimic the staccato bursts of lyrics. But this album is just more than covers as Toppinen takes his hand at penning three songs here. There opening track, "Harmageddon" shows that Toppinen can head-band with the best of 'em. Opening with an airy beginning, he turns up the volume with a heavy rhythm and a clean melody playing over it. The two make a startling counterpoint. Later, "M.B." is another heavy song, which slows down in the middle for a slow, haunting movement as it slowly picks up speed back to heavy metal land. Add in the great "Toreador" and you would be hard pressed to realize that any of these songs were not written by a great heavy metal band.
This is always a great album, half classical and half heavy metal. I love to introduce it to people, and everyone who hears it finds they love it enough to buy. The idea is unique and may have started the orchestral arrangements for other groups, like Pink Floyd's "Us and Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd". If you like heavy metal and classical, this album is a must have.
on July 19, 2001
Every now and then comes a band that totally changes the way people look at music. Enter Apocalyptica. Who would have thought that cellos and heavy metal could work so well together? Another thing that I find interesting is that Apocalyptica manages to take one of the largest, most bulky instrumental pieces, yet make it sound as if they're playing something more managable. Secondly, I don't think the inventor of the cello had heavy metal in mind, but Apocalyptica plays their cellos as if they were meant for that all along. Just look at the artwork on the front--you have a skull seamlessly blended in with the cello, symbolizing how the two were meant to be together. In short, I'm impressed. In this CD, there's a little something for everybody. For those who like calmer music, there's "Nothing Else Matters" and "Fade to Black." The latter is particularly good. For those of us who like more speed and power to our music, there's "Harmageddon", "Inquisition Symphony", and "Toreador", just to name of few of my favorites. To me, the best music is the type that puts pictures in your mind. Whenever I hear one of these songs, I can't help but think of Vikings, the Dark Ages, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft. If you're a fantasy/horror writer, this is EXCELLENT stuff. Even the name "Apocalyptica" sounds like a word H.P. Lovecraft would have created. If you've never heard anything by this group before, let me say this: I envy you, because you get to discover this gem for the first time.
on May 27, 1999
This album is simply amazing! I had heard and liked the original, self-titled album, but this leaves it in the dust. Where the first album, while original, seemed focused on treble, and some of the songs (Master of Puppets) seemed to wear on a bit, Apocalyptica refined their style, and released an album so raw its almost visceral. "Refuse/Resist" assaults your senses so criminally, you wonder how many bows they went through to record it. "Fade to Black" showcases their ability to get to the heart of a song, and show you something new. The three original tracks, while lacking the pull of the covers, are so good that while you become interested in an all-original composition album, you worry that they might never cover another Metallica song again. "One" however, is the showcase of the album, and wisely left last; once you hear it, everything else pales in comparison. It pulled me out of my seat, and when its throbbing conclusion faded from my senses, I was left feeling empty. I have owned this CD for six months now, and I can honestly say it has dulled my taste for many of my other cd's. It is just that amazing.
on June 13, 2000
Oh dear oh dear ! In my opinion, words would only succeed in degrading this second "effort" by Apocalyptica. Haa haa...that is somewhat of an exageration, yet this album is a purely magnificent piece of art. I thought their first album, though well-done, became tedious. But this...this is a step in a direction that music needs to make ! It's wonderful listening to the four of them compose their own pieces (which I believe are better than the metallica songs .. except maybe Nothing Else Matters - that version is phenomenal). But what mystifies me is such songs as Refuse/Resist....which upon listening to, it's hard to imagine this is simply four cellists ! There's a cello solo in this....true, there were cello solos in the first album..but NOT like this one - this cello solo rivals many a guitar solo I've EVER heard! Anybody who doesn't consciously choose to listen to this, is merely cheating their minds and ears !
on January 15, 2002
I enjoy this album because of its uniqueness within the narrow realm of metal music to which I listen to seldomly. One does not have to go far into this work to find real potential of these players. They are competent and inovative with their instruments.
I admire the enthusiasm of the all the cult followers of Apocalyptica who grace this customer review secion. However, the various assertions that this is the classic music of the future and all that is founded only in their visceral confusion about what makes good music.
No way does the talent of the Apocalyptica boys match that of Rastipovitch or Yo-Yo Ma. Check out the masters' Bach variations and you will hear traditional classical that remains current, metal, enticing, suicidal... much more than you can get with Apocalyptica with actual melody, insight, timeliness and all with a single cello!
on March 14, 1999
I thoruoghly enjoyed Apocalyptica's fresh addings to a particulary non-existant category. They have created this "Metal meets Bach" category. These interpretations of many classic Metallica tunes and many new tunes such as a Faith No More tune and a Selptura tune. These interpretations are of the highest quality. Even though the Metallica interpretations are no longer note for note this is still a really great album. Maybe not a must buy, but a worthy opponent indeed. I think that the wave that Apocalyptica is starting should be followed everywhere. An example would be of school bands playing contemporary pop songs for the majority of their marching band line up, they shoud at least have two classic metal tunes such as Iron Man or One. If Apocalyptica can transcribe these songs for classical purposes so can school bands.
on August 11, 2000
Certain things show in this second outing from Apocalyptica. First, it shows that they are not afraid to alter the music somewhat to make it flow a little better when it comes to their cello work. On the first album they stuck so rigidly to Metallica's music that some of the music came off as very harsh, stumbling music. Now, while this may work for Metallica in their genre of music (and for the most part, it does), it doesn't do nearly as well here.
Second, this album shows that they have matured much since their first album when it comes to track selection, to original music composition. The feel of this album is that the tracks fit together much better than the hodge-podge of the first album.
Overall, this remains one of my favorite albums and I would reccomend this to most anybody including metallica fans.
on October 28, 1998
This album is truly amazing! The natural sound and ambience that come with classical instruments,most importantly the cello, gives the recording a very eerie feeling. The groups renditions of Faith No More's "From out of nowhere," Metallica's "Fade to BLack" and "One" are fabulous, but than again every track on the album are. The three original pieces "Harmageddon," "M.B.," and "Toredor" show the group's abilty to create amazing soundscapes and emotions of dark and mystical quality usually thought only to be found in Heavy Metal/Metal, using only the cello. Classical in sound, heavy metal in emotion. This is an amazing album. I encourage anyone who likes Metal and even Classical to buy this.
on November 19, 1999
When I was in high school, I spoke with a heavy metal bass player friend of mine about how I thought that "one" would just sound completely awesome done by a full orchestra. When I found the first Apocalyptica album, I was delighted that some people actually agreed with me. Their version of one is stunning, if somewhat short. However, these four have opened a view that before very few could see. Because of these four Metallica themselves have enlisted the use of symphonies in their music. This could be the birth of a new kind of fusion. Mayhap that one day soon my dream of hearing a full length, fully orchestrated version of "one" will come true! I told you it would sound good Jim!
on May 15, 2000
I was stunned. First, overwhelmed emotionally, then completely blown away. Driving a car, listening to "Nothing else matters" -- my mind was carried away. Walking to my house, "Domination", then "Toreador" just struck me and shocked me like a lighting ball. They definitely took it to a higher level. Their power grew. Medieval times invade your mind and body. Stronger than Metallica itself (sorry, metallica fans). I like classic music as well as rock and metal. This combines both. If the first album was nice and pretty, just for my girlfriend (even though I enjoyed it very much), this album is amplified and magnified. It drives and possesses you, -- it will BLOW YOU AWAY.