Apocalyptica - Reflections

Year of Release: 2003 / 2004
Label: Universal
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 48:54:00


What is it?

Brooding Finns, naked women with painted f holes (say it sloooowly and enunciate), burning cellos and Rorschach inspired artwork .. harbingers of impending gloom? Lauded for their initial efforts covering Metallica songs, Apocalyptica have released an album of originals, featuring cameos by punk matriarch Nina Hagen and death-defining drummer Dave Lombardo?


What it is:

I am neither a purist, nor a classical snob, but I am bewildered as to why these talented fellows felt it necessary to relegate their prodigious skills to this most egregious of errors in musical judgment...

Repetitious power chords, hacked and sawed out in workman-like fashion create little harmonic movement, and Lombardo's drumming, as frenetic and dizzying as expected, fails to lift or propel the music at all. The few pieces that don't rely heavily on distorted riffing are paltry compositionally, failing to develop anything resembling a memorable melody or hook, instead relying on the variations in tone provided by the different cellos and their attacks, notable exceptions being "Faraway," with its Tan Dun inspired phrases, "Cortege," harmonically dark and strangely reminiscent of Apocalyptica's alma-mater's namesake (his "4th Symphony" ending) and "Conclusion," poignant yet chaste in harmonic or contrapuntal development.

If the intent was to avoid classical clich?s, or to use the instruments in a vastly different context, then Reflections succeeds. Unfortunately, the music is mundane, and really does sound like a third-rate string trio playing Metallica-inspired riffs.

The glue that would have held this wooden mess together is missing completely: well written music with melodic and harmonic craftsmanship. The cello's strength is its ability to deliver heart-wrenching, achingly emotional melody, or to provide bass-lines that reinforce root movement or add extended harmonic movement, thereby providing dramatic mood shifts and tension. This music is uni-dimensional and flat, devoid of soul or dynamics, and, worst of all, the cadenza at the end of "Pandemonium" sounds just like Kirk Hammet.

"Seemann," featuring Nina Hagen, fairly bristles with conviction, and "Faraway Vol 2" featuring Linda lends credence to my belief that in order for this music to succeed, the cellos have to be relegated to a supporting role for strong melodies and providing lyrical counterpoint... kind of like they do in ... classical music?

Rating: Mediocre: competently executed but doesn't deliver as promised or meet expectations; derivative or generic musically/lyrically

4-/10 (The minus is for the cringe inducing 'Toreador II' and its trade-off soloing between the trumpet and distorted cello). [In PW scale, about 2/5 -ed.]

Summary: Why?

Prologue (Apprehension) / No Education / Faraway / Somewhere Around Nothing / Drive / Cohkka / Conclusion / Resurrection / Heat / Cort?ge / Pandemonium / Toreador II / Epilogue (Relief) / Seemann (album version)* / Faraway Vol. 2 (extended version)* / Delusion* / Perdition* / Leave Me Alone*

DVD*: Faraway Live 2003 / Enter Sandman Live 2003 / Inquisition Symphony Live 2003 / Nothing Else Matters Live 2003 / Somewhere Around Nothing Live 2003 / Somewhere Around Nothing Video / Faraway Vol. 2 Video / Seemann Video / Faraway Vol. 2 EPK / Reflections EPK / Seemann EPK

Eicca Toppinen - cello
Paavo Lotjonen - cello
Perttu Kivilakso - cello
Dave Lombardo - drums
Sami Juoppamaki - drums

'Apocalyptica' (single) (1996)
Plays Metallica By Four Cellos (1996)
Inquisition Symphony (1998)
Cult (2000)
Live (2001)
Cult - Special Edition (2001)
Best Of Apocalyptica (2002)
Reflections (2003)
Reflections Revised (2003) (includes bonus DVD with live perf.)
Apocalyptica (2005)
Amplified - A Decade Of Reinventing The Cello (2006)
Worlds Collide (2007)

The Life Burns Tour (DVD) (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin FI

Added: May 16th 2005
Reviewer: Jan-Mikael Erakare
Artist website: www.apocalyptica.com
Hits: 1201
Language: english


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