CD Review: Apocalyptica — 7th Symphony; Playing Center Stage, August 30

7th Symphony
Jive/Sony Music

By Ellen Eldridge

As August draws to a close, Apocalyptica announces one of the best releases of 2010, and I can confidently say this having been unable to stop playing the ten tracks on 7th Symphony since receiving the CD. For a band of Finnish cello rockers, Apocalyptica have come full circle from gaining attention covering Metallica tunes (1993 debut Apocalyptica Plays Metallica by Four Cellos); everyone from mainstream pop fans to metal heads will find something to enjoy.

There truly something for everyone with guest appearances by Gavin Rossdale of Bush to tracks featuring double pedal driving Dave Lombardo of Slayer. The songs with lyrics will appeal to fans of the guests, which is a feat considering the wide range of guest appearances. Those who love crooning along with the ever-so-subtle country twang in Brent Smith’s voice will also find themselves growling along with Gojira’s Joseph Duplantier death metal vocals. Lacey Sturm of Flyleaf performs exquisitely, relishing her high range vocals on “Broken Pieces”with an interesting twist to the cello strings in the introduction; the sound is as being plucked or hammered-on. The fact that the song was written by Erica Toppinen doesn’t break the strength and conviction with which Lacey sings. Brent Smith manages the same passion for the words within “Not Strong Enough,” which elicits emotion from the pulsing strokes introducing imagery of a bow slicing through a rope releasing a barrage of sound.

The effect of the orchestral instrumentation behind the songs is what makes Apocalyptica strong. For the purely instrumental tracks the symphonic elements create an effect of lyrics without ever uttering a single syllable. Each sustained scream sings with undeniable meaning in songs like “On The Rooftop With Quasimodo” and tracks like the elegantly performed (and performed naked) “Beautiful” recalls classic Sunday afternoon compositions by greats like Beethoven and Mozart with its vulnerable and passionate sounding trio of cellos and a bass. The dramatic pulse and heavy undercurrent on several of the 7th Symphony tracks could be attributed to producer Joe Barresi, who is also credited with producing Tool. Add to this the fact that two of the four vocal numbers were produced by Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Papa Roach),d one can easily see a great combination of hits ready for the radio and geared to excite live crowds. Imagining just how Apocalyptica will sound live fuels a fire deep within fans to get out and see them! Atlanta audiences will get their chance Monday, August 30 at Center Stage.

Apolcalyptica play Center Stage, August 30.


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