I remember strolling the CD aisles of Nobody Beats The Wiz at the local mall in high school like it was yesterday. Every Saturday I would stop to pick up Apocalyptica Plays Metallica By Four Cellos. First I would chuckle, mumble “uh that’s interesting,” then put it back on the rack to only repeat the same process the next week. This is why I find it so interesting that Apocalyptica has become such a legitimate and well-respected international heavy metal act. Now on their seventh studio album, aptly titled 7th Symphony, the band continues to show that they are much more than a one-disc folly.
The Finnish wizards of the cello have certainly evolved since their Metallica tribute, enlisting the aid of some of rocks most relevant frontmen: Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Cristinia Scabbia of Lacuna Coil, and Till Lindemann of Rammstein. And let’s not forget the invincible drumming by Dave Lombardo of Slayer.
7th Symphony plays much the same way as the band’s recent records by offering vocals by four more prominent vocalists including Joe Duplantier of Gojira, Gavin Rossdale of Bush, Lacey Mosley of Flyleaf, and Brent Smith of Shinedown. Almost needless to say, Duplantier is the clear victorious destroyer of the bunch; however, Rossdale’s vocal performance on “End of Me” is also pretty sick.
“Broken Pieces” featuring Mosley could pass for any of the Flyleaf singles that have been released in the past.
The rest of the songs are instrumental performances. The opening “At The Gates of Manala” is a harrowing journey through the Finnish underworld or realm of the dead. Agonizing string work dons the seven-minute trek over a fiery river of death.
“Rage of Poseidon” is a jittery thrash frenzy lasting nearly nine minutes while “On The Rooftop With Quasimodo” gushes with progressive melody. Lombardo delivers a thunderous onslaught of his own on “2010,” with his rapid footwork.
For those that download the disc from iTunes, the band offers a really chill cover of Black Sabbath’s “Spiral Architect” which is iPod worthy.
7th Symphony is another metal victory for the cellists of doom. It is the perfect mix of mainstream rock diligence and progressive competence to engage all heavy listeners.
Apocalyptica is Perttu Kivilaakso (Cello/Additional Vocals), Paavo Lötjönen (Cello/Additional Vocals), Mikko Sirén (Drums/Additional vocals, & Eicca Toppinen (Cello/Additional Vocals).
- “At The Gates of Manala”
- “End of Me”
- “Not Strong Enough”
- “Broken Pieces”
- “On The Rooftop with Quasimodo”
- “Bring Them To Life”
- “Rage of Poseidon”
First off I’d like to tell you about my Empire Strikes Back pop-up book that I got in 1980. It was amazing; not only easy to read for a two year old, but it also included a mighty Hoth Wompa, Master Yoda, or Lord Vader all jumping out of the book with almost every flick of the page.
Thirty years later, it seems like every other album I open this year (last month Nonpoint, this month Filter) contains some sort of cardboard pop-up. Why did it take three decades for 3D-style technology to catch on? Frankly, I’m bored of the idea by now. You hear me James Cameron? You were three decades too late!
Filter’s latest record comes packaged with a blue pop-up booklet, which doesn’t impress me much either; doesn’t come close to Lando Calrissian flying the Millenium Falcon. As far as the disc’s content is concerned, Filter does offer a few cool modern rock tunes on their latest release The Trouble With Angels. The best being “The Inevitable Relapse” and most pleasant being “Fades Like A Photograph (Dead Angel).”
One thing is for sure, all the songs sound very familiar which seems to be part of Filter’s appeal. You get catchy programming and Richard Patrick’s dragged out “YEAHHHHH!” on many of the tunes. He does a damn fine job at it. You can almost equate it to that funny sound that Disturbed’s David Draiman makes on every single song.
Some of the tunes on The Trouble With Angels seem to blend into one another, while the track “No Re-Entry” stands out more than others in terms of careful composition.
Going back to the pop-up art work; Filter did a much better job than Nonpoint’s Miracle because Filter had the decency to offer a sleeve so the disc does not screw up the consistency of your CD rack—Good looking out Filter.
This disc definitely stands up to their previously released work. If you were a Filter fan before, then it would be foolish to say that this disc accomplishes anything different than earlier releases Short Bus or Title of Record.
Filter is Robert Patrick (Vocals/Guitars/Programming), Mitchell Marlow (Guitar), John Spiker (Bass/Programming), & Mika Fineo (Drums).
- “The Inevitable Relapse”
- “Drug Boy”
- “Absentee Father”
- “No Love”
- “No Re-Entry”
- “Down with Me”
- “Catch a Falling Knife”
- “The Trouble with Angels”
- “Fades Like a Photograph (Dead Angel)”
I have always found it very difficult to dislike The Sword. They always take me back to the good times of the mid-90s when there were so many blistering riff-assaults from the likes of Corrosion of Conformity, Monster Magnet, and Kyuss. The Sword is one of the few bands today that keep the flame alive. Warp Riders is a Sci-Fi concept album that rips, tears, and grooves. You know, it makes you proud to represent the metal flag. If I was in a band, it would sound a lot like these guys—very heavy yet very chill.
How can this live album possibly fail? Rust In Peace is one of the top 10 greatest heavy metal albums of all time. Dave Mustaine along with classic bassist David Ellefson (“Dawn Patrol” anybody?) deliver a powerful performance of RIP along with the awesome powers of lead shredder Chris Broderick.
In addition to the nine perfect live RIP tracks, you get seven bonus tracks of fan-favorites including “Skin O My Teeth,” “Peace Sells,” “Symphony of Destruction,” and “Trust.” This live disc was mixed and mastered with just the right intensity. It’s ultimately a very fitting and refreshing 20-year tribute.
One small thing lacking from this live program is Mustaine’s entertaining stage banter. You get the sick live tracks but the audience interaction between the tunes is nonexistent, which is disappointing because Mustaine is one cool metal dude. However in all fairness, “Holy Wars Reprise” does offer some shout-outs to Los Angeles and band introductions.
Rust In Peace Live is a great live tribute to a true thrash masterpiece. Also, Broderick’s guitars are so crisp and dead-on that he makes it very difficult to miss Marty Friedman.
Megadeth is Dave Mustaine (Vocals/Guitars), Chris Broderick (Guitars), David Ellefson (Bass), & Shawn Drover (Drums).
- “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due”
- “Hangar 18”
- “Take No Prisoners”
- “Five Magics”
- “Poison Was The Cure”
- “Tornado of Souls”
- “Dawn Patrol”
- “Rust In Peace…Polaris”
- “Holy Wars Reprise”
- “Skin O’ My Teeth”
- “In My Darkest Hour”
- “Symphony of Destruction”
- “Peace Sells”