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Inquisition Symphony

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(66 Reviews)

Apocalyptica Biography - Apocalyptica Discography - All Heavy Metal Bands


On De-loused in the Comatorium, the Mars Volta approach rock & roll like it’s an ascetic discipline, a calling that comes with lyric sheets as dense and impenetrable as the Kabbalah and a ritual of worship that’s dervish-like in its intensity. Formed by vocalist Cedric Bixler and guitarist Omar Rodriguez after the split of their former band–Texan hardcore legends At the Drive-In, who splintered acrimoniously in 2001–the Volta are an unashamedly progressive outfit, dealing in grandiose arrangements that come on like Led Zeppelin fired through Saturn’s rings. You can still hear many of ATDI’s hallmarks inside the spasmodic dynamics of ”Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt” and ”Eriatarka”–it’s just now they’re immeasurably more complex, governed by time signatures responsible only to some alien logic, and cast out on ever more remote waves of mind-bending conceptual fantasy. Bixler’s serrated howl has mellowed somewhat, veering here from tender croon to shrill falsetto. And interestingly, Flea guests here, although you wouldn’t know it: his brooding basslines bear nothing of the slap-happy funk he displays in the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. But ironically, the most startling contribution comes from the band’s late sound manipulator Jeremy Ward, who passed away after a heroin overdose on the eve of this album’s release. His dubby ambient fills unfurl in the valleys between each jagged instrumental peak, lending a truly otherworldly feel to proceedings. A morbid legacy, but thankfully, far from this album’s only selling point: De-loused in the Comatorium is the rare prog-rock landmark that prizes punk passion over meandering pretension. – Louis Pattison

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  • This is Apocalyptica’s second album, and is light-years ahead of the flaming turd that passed off as an album previously. The tone is a million times better, the bass range is much fuller, and the selection is much more varied.

    It includes 3 originals, 4 Metallica covers (For Whom the Bell Tolls, Nothing Else Matters, Fade to Black, and One), 2 songs by the Brazilian metal band Sepultura (of which the title track is one), and one cover each of music by Faith No More and Pantera. The instrumentation is noticeably more complex than on the previous album, and unlike other metal bands whose wall of distortion makes the harmony (if there is any) unintelligible, it is for most of the album easy to hear 3 (sometimes 4) distinct parts at any one point.

    The tone is also amazingly varied, from the grinding (at times apparently electronically distorted) power chords, pedal tones, voice-like instrumental screams and groans, and percussive pounding (I could swear someone is actually beating on the body of their cello in the first Sepultura cover) of the louder parts of the album to the beautiful violin-like melodies and pizzicato arpeggios on the ballads and slower sections. The very beginning of the first track (which by the way is one of the best and most varied tracks, a perfect start to the album) is a good example of a sound which I would *never* expect to hear out of a cello.

    The dynamics are as impressively varied as the tone; the quiet sections are almost as plentiful as the louder sections, while the dynamic contour of the melodic lines, and the gradual building and release of tension at any point in the album, definitely demonstrate that they know how to make *music* where other bands might just play a bunch of notes. Frequent tempo changes also make this music much more interesting than most metal.

    Apocalyptica is without question one of the greatest metal bands of all time, and certainly the only one whose instrumentation is simply four cellos. The album they released after Inquisition Symphony, Cult (which was also completely brilliant), included occasional bass and percussion, as well as a vocalist on the first track, but this album is every bit as good while using only one type of instrument. Practically every track on this album demonstrates the impressive technical and musical ability of the people in this group, and the 3 compositions by Eicca Toppinen (arranger) are every bit as good as the 4 classic Metallica covers on here (which are some of my favorite songs in any type of music).

    This is some of the best music I have ever heard in my life, and will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the greatest bands in metal, as well as in rock music in general.

    Posted on February 25, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Oh dear oh dear ! In my opinion, words would only succeed in degrading this second “effort” by Apocalyptica. Haa haa…that is somewhat of an exageration, yet this album is a purely magnificent piece of art. I thought their first album, though well-done, became tedious. But this…this is a step in a direction that music needs to make ! It’s wonderful listening to the four of them compose their own pieces (which I believe are better than the metallica songs .. except maybe Nothing Else Matters – that version is phenomenal). But what mystifies me is such songs as Refuse/Resist….which upon listening to, it’s hard to imagine this is simply four cellists ! There’s a cello solo in this….true, there were cello solos in the first album..but NOT like this one – this cello solo rivals many a guitar solo I’ve EVER heard! Anybody who doesn’t consciously choose to listen to this, is merely cheating their minds and ears !

    Posted on February 24, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Apocalyptica’s first album was great, but I like this one even better. It’s a little more electronic and heavier than the first and includes covers of three other groups in addition to Metallica. The best part, though, is the three excellent original compositions. These demonstrate real song-writing ability and allow the music to be tailored even better to the cello quartet. My one very minor gripe about the cover songs is that the voice part can become repetitive since there aren’t any lyrics to provide variation. The original compositions eliminate this issue.

    Posted on February 24, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Every now and then comes a band that totally changes the way people look at music. Enter Apocalyptica. Who would have thought that cellos and heavy metal could work so well together? Another thing that I find interesting is that Apocalyptica manages to take one of the largest, most bulky instrumental pieces, yet make it sound as if they’re playing something more managable. Secondly, I don’t think the inventor of the cello had heavy metal in mind, but Apocalyptica plays their cellos as if they were meant for that all along. Just look at the artwork on the front–you have a skull seamlessly blended in with the cello, symbolizing how the two were meant to be together. In short, I’m impressed. In this CD, there’s a little something for everybody. For those who like calmer music, there’s “Nothing Else Matters” and “Fade to Black.” The latter is particularly good. For those of us who like more speed and power to our music, there’s “Harmageddon”, “Inquisition Symphony”, and “Toreador”, just to name of few of my favorites. To me, the best music is the type that puts pictures in your mind. Whenever I hear one of these songs, I can’t help but think of Vikings, the Dark Ages, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft. If you’re a fantasy/horror writer, this is EXCELLENT stuff. Even the name “Apocalyptica” sounds like a word H.P. Lovecraft would have created. If you’ve never heard anything by this group before, let me say this: I envy you, because you get to discover this gem for the first time.

    Posted on February 24, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • What happens when you take four classically trained cellists who have a love for heavy metal? You get the group Apocalyptica. This group crosses the metal sounds of Metallica, Faith No More, Sepultura, and Pantera with the classical sounds of strings. I’ve always believed strings would make a good addition to a heavy metal group, and Apocalyptica did just that running their four cellos through distortion. The amazing thing about “Inquisition Symphony” is that there are no other instruments. The full, heavy and thundering sound is just four cellos. The ability to take true head-banger music and play it on the cello without losing any intensity is truly incredible. Eicca Toppinen, Antero Mannienen, Paavo Lotjonen, and Max Lilja are great musicians. There is a great sampling of heavy metal on this album that is more than just a tribute to the heavy metal bands. The classic Metallica “Fade to Black” is so well played. The haunting melody carried on the undistorted strings of a single cello before the others join in bringing the weight of the song. This proves that Metallica does belong in a symphony hall. Another good example is “One”. The song almost sounds like a classical piece until the crescendo of distorted strings mimic the staccato bursts of lyrics. But this album is just more than covers as Toppinen takes his hand at penning three songs here. There opening track, “Harmageddon” shows that Toppinen can head-band with the best of `em. Opening with an airy beginning, he turns up the volume with a heavy rhythm and a clean melody playing over it. The two make a startling counterpoint. Later, “M.B.” is another heavy song, which slows down in the middle for a slow, haunting movement as it slowly picks up speed back to heavy metal land. Add in the great “Toreador” and you would be hard pressed to realize that any of these songs were not written by a great heavy metal band. This is always a great album, half classical and half heavy metal. I love to introduce it to people, and everyone who hears it finds they love it enough to buy. The idea is unique and may have started the orchestral arrangements for other groups, like Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd”. If you like heavy metal and classical, this album is a must have.

    Posted on February 24, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now