Apocalyptica - Worlds Collide
Matt Harrold 26/10/2007
Uniqueness is one of those rarest of finds in a music market that seems to be teeming with bands trying to press their influences of their fans without moving things forward. So fans of the Finish band Apolcalyptica must be rather smugly patting themselves on the back with a band that is truly different. They don't have a single guitarist or bassist in their line up, nor a synth or keyboard in sight. Instead they're composed of three cellists and a drummer, and what's more they play heavy metal. Yes. That's right, heavy metal.
Ever since their inception they've managed to defy all logic and actually produce a run of albums that haven't had people rolling around in laughter at the concept. Instead they've gotten on with the job of producing some rather good symphonic metal. Imagine if you will there's an alternative universe where Godspeed You! Black Emperor were raised on a diet of Black Sabbath. Who's string section were pumped with steroids and placed alongside the collective wet dreams of a million metal fans. Welcome to the world of Apolcalyptica.
Firstly let it be pointed out that 'Worlds Collide' is vocal lite, except for a handful of tracks it's mostly instrumental, and unsurprisingly for a band that has quite a narrow range of instrumentation there's a LOT of guest musicians. Ranging from Slayer's one man drum machine Dave Lombardo on 'Last Hope' to legendary Japanese guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei who lends his talent to 'Grace', and along with the other invitees ' an avertible who's who of the metal world.
Impressively on 'I'm Not Jesus', one of the few tracks with vocals present, they manage to coax Corey Taylor into providing vocals that put his contribution to Slipknot to shame. There's going to be a lot of angry teenagers out there waiting for their balls to drop so they can vent on him for not Slipknot that kind of oomph. Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil provides vocals for the ballad 'S.O.S. (Anything but Love)' which passes for a perfectly competent ballad, whilst Till Lindermann provides the vocals for a German cover of David Bowie's 'Heroes', much to unintentional comedic effect. There's something about his deep baritone vocals against the lush symphonic cello that screams Spinal Tap.
The real joy though is listening to the tracks that are Apolcalyptica's own. In the title track 'Worlds Collide' it becomes obvious how snug a fit metal and classic instrumentation can be. It's neither pompous nor totally over the top but rides a steady grove as post-rock's bigger, meaner cousin, with the chugging rifts and classical melodies complimenting each and actually going some way to diminishing each others weaknesses. No longer is the metal just a bunch of glorified shredding and the classical aspect tainted by snobbery, instead your left with a slice of experimental metal that also manages to remain somewhat commercial. Perfect for those who prefer their music to turned up to eleven but still retain it's brains.