CD Review of Worlds Collide by Apocalyptica
Recommended if you like
Symphony X, Metallica,
Dream Theater
Label
Red Ink Records
Apocalyptica: Worlds Collide

Reviewed by Bill Clark

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N
o other band has made the cello this cool. It all started back in 1997, when Apocalyptica released an eight-track disc of Metallica covers utilizing nothing but the stringed instrument. Not only did it land them a gig as the openers for the metal giants, but it spawned a whole new beast of progressive metal. Worlds Collide is the band’s sixth studio release, and while they have grown a bit more commercialized over their past few efforts, this disc nevertheless delivers the goods for longtime fans and new listeners alike.

Worlds Collide is a rather balanced mix of instrumentals and vocal-driven tracks by guest musicians. The opening title track gives you a great idea of what you’re in for: pounding metal riffs with sophisticated cello leads. “Grace,” featuring Japanese guitar wizard Tomoyasu Hotei, nearly burned holes in my speakers. These guys are tight, and the listening experience is nothing short of epic. Familiar names turn up throughout, as Slipknot and Stone Sour’s Corey Taylor provides vocals on the single “I’m Not Jesus.” Taylor excels on this track, and is rapidly becoming a real singer. Also of note is the incendiary drum track on the album’s best song, “Last Hope,” by Slayer’s Dave Lombardo. This is technical wizardry and a hell of a lot of fun to listen to. The back-and-forth interplay between the musicians is jaw-dropping. Rammstein’s vocalist, Till Lindemann, also shows up on a haunting cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” (titled “Helden” here, and sung in German). Unfortunately, guest appearances by Three Days Grace’s Adam Gontier and Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia don’t fare so well. How Gontier even got included is beyond me, as “I Don’t Care” is, hands down, the album’s weakest track. Scabbia’s turn on “S.O.S. (Anything But Love)” is passable, but this ballad doesn’t really fit on an otherwise aggressive album.

Apocalyptica functions most effectively as an instrumental band. This is why songs such as the aforementioned title track, “Grace,” “Stroke,” “Burn,” and “Peace” will resonate best with fans. So many sonic landscapes are formed by this quartet that it’s no wonder that they have gained the following they have over the years. The cello is an instrument that can create many moods, and Apocalyptica can make it beautiful, haunting, and frightening as they effortlessly mesh it with throttling heavy metal riffs.

Weaker songs aside, this album is still an epic listen. It’s the kind of record you can pull out and always hear something new. If you’re bored with the current state of metal, this may be your antidote. Highly recommended.

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