Apocalyptica is three guys (used to be four) who play metal on cello. Best known for covering famous songs by renowned artists (they first startled the music scene in 1996 with “Plays Metallica by Four Cellos”), they also write some magnificent pieces of their own, frequently featuring the collaboration of other bands such as HIM. Talented musicians, they’re all classically trained, but they put that skill to use in a unique way.
Their music is beautiful. On a piece like Metallica’s “One,” the strings dance through the intro in almost baroque fashion, only to plunge into a startling imitation of a guitar’s grind, and then cut loose into the meat of the piece with a snarl you’ve probably never heard from a cello before. Maximizing the cello’s rich tonal range from a deep bass growl to a soprano that soars into the upper atmosphere, the instruments lend power ballads a heart-rendingly beautiful sound, while they crash through the hard stuff with a vicious exuberance that’d make any metal band proud.
If you enjoy metal, if you admire the lyricism of a well-played string instrument, if you like discovering novel sounds, or if you’re simply tired of hearing rehashes of the same old stuff over and over again, you owe it to yourself to check out Apocalyptica. This collection is an excellent place to start, with some of the highlights from all their albums up to this point. Dark, ferocious, beautiful, and ageless, every person I’ve played this album for has turned to me with a look of joyful surprise and asked where they could find a copy.