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.