“7th Symphony” (Deluxe) by Apocalyptica

Artist: Apocalyptica
Title: “7th Symphony” (Deluxe)
Label: Jive Music
Release Date: 8/24/2010
Genre: Classical Metal
Rating: 4.75/5

When Apocalyptica released their latest CD “7th Symphony”, I admitted that I was a little surprised to find a special deluxe edition with a bonus DVD being made available on the very same day. Generally we find such an issue coming out months after the standard one as we see done from time to time with artists on both the Roadrunner and Eagle Records labels. Depending on the band featured, it might actually make you go out and purchase something that you avoided the first time around or in some sense be a release that gets a breathe of renewed life into it. Sometimes this is a good idea because perhaps the album might have been overlooked by the general public and then after some regional touring found a massive flood of interest being directed at it. That being said, finding a special edition with the DVD coming out on the same day left me scratching my head. Anyway, I had just reviewed the standard edition and re-present those thoughts for your benefit and then I will examine a little bit more about the differences between that edition and the deluxe being discussed in this review.

“Like a breath of fresh, cold Scandinavian air comes the latest release by Finland’s Apocalyptica. While I am thinking that you should know who they are by now, I will indulge the newcomer by saying that they are the band that made playing the cello not only cool but frigging awesome. Many of their original fans came to love them from their renditions of Metallica standards. With this in your memory banks we can now get down to business about their new album “7th Symphony”. The release is the bands seventh recording which makes the title rather kitsch and it follows suit with their previous album “World’s Collide” by making strong use of their instrumental fare and a number of well-known musical guests to provide vocals on the remaining tracks. I have to take a moment and revisit a minor issue that I felt with their “Worlds Apart” release and that was my initial worry about how the guest appearances seemed to take away from the magic that was Apocalyptica music and how I felt these tunes sounded more like the bands that the singers came from than they should have. Looking back on this I have to say that I was wrong because it really ended up working in the bands behalf and brought them to greater heights than had they not chosen to do so.

We start our journey into the new album with the amazing “At The Gates Of Manala” which is of course an instrumental and showcases a very interesting side of the band. There are a number of different avenues taken by the guys but it is towards the middle section where it reaches Black Metal territory by offering a blazing riff often associated with that form and I loved it. “End Of Me” features Gavin Rossdale from Bush and they seem to be pushing this tune as the first single from the album. I guess its safe to say how this is the “7th Symphony” version of “I’m Not Jesus” which was a blockbuster for the band with the last album. While a good tune I wonder if this will be as popular as the offering by Brent Smith of Shinedown who sings “Not Strong Enough” based on the fact how that band is much more in the public eye than Bush has been in many years. Both are good songs and each has a nice drive to them. The band kicks the throttle into gear with the next instrumental “2010” as this features Dave Lombardo from Slayer on the drums and it is a solid tune that really shows off the percussionists abilities. It’s obviously a heavy offering and one that I think even the Slayer loyalists will take to. We get some vocals from Lacey of Flyleaf and while never a band I paid much attention to, felt did a nice job with the guys. “Bring Me To Light” was an interesting tune as it was half Thrash Metal and slightly Death Metal and also featured Joe Duplantier from Gojira on vocals. I had to say that this one did not remind me of the singers band at all and came off as a little easier to absorb as a tune of its own. “Through Paris In A Sportscar” is a quickly paced instrumental that I enjoyed because it brought me more of the band Apocalyptica as opposed to just being a release that showcases different lead singers and the band. The last few albums appear to be designed to deliver you two sides of the bands coin and I am still on the fence about that. Both “Beautiful” and “Sacra” are short and enticing instrumentals that I think the fans will enjoy quite a bit. The original release was closed out by the bands epic “Rage Of Poseidon” which runs almost nine minutes in length but on the deluxe edition it is the penultimate song. With “Rage Of Poseidon” there is a lot of stuff going on in this one and it might be a killer tune when done in the live sense. While long its not at all boring or tedious in pace based on how its slowly build and builds until its crescendo. Nice work and very musically thorough. The deluxe edition closes with another new to my ears track in “Shadow Of Venus” and I felt that this was the closing credits of the album and I could picture myself in a theatre watching as the creative forces behind all that I just enjoyed scrolling by me on a big screen. This number is four minutes long and leaves you with a sense of needing to listen to the album once again.

A sixteen page booklet comes with the release and gives you a number of individual band member photos and the lyrics to all of the songs with words in them. This is the kind of booklet that is perfect for a fan meet and greet since every member has a page that can be signed if you participate in those kinds of things. The lyrics obviously help make these new offerings second nature to you. The liner notes reflect the two additional tunes and some listing of the DVD that is also included. Let’s take a look at that part of the package now shall we.

DVD: Beautiful, Not Strong Enough, End Of Me, I Don’t Care, Sacra, Bittersweet

*** These six tracks were recorded in June 2010 at Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy and they are done acoustically which in the end amounts to your own special version of “Apocalyptica Unplugged”. The band sounds wonderful in this setting and it’s perfect for them as they are all sitting and just showcasing how beautifully they play cello. The tunes being delivered in this interesting manner are ones that touch upon a number of the bands albums including the most recent one, and hence all had different singers on their original versions. With the DVD we find all of the tunes that required vocals being done by Tipe Johnson of the band Leningrad Cowboys. I admit that I have never heard of him before this video but had to say that he does a stand up job of the various registers that were required of him. I think all of the bands fans will take to him without question. I loved this part of the special edition quite a bit and think that you will as well.

Closing up I had to wonder why this was not the only version of the album being sold because these days the consumers are avoiding purchases more and more and causing albums like this to suffer and never be stocked on brick and mortar shelves. Had they only issued this one version I am positive that it would have been an immediate grab. Oh well. It’s still a fine album that I enjoyed very much and if you have yet to grab a copy then I suggest you purchase this one as opposed to the standard edition. The band is also worth catching in concert because they don’t just sit down and play their cellos, they are everywhere your eye can be focused and entertain like few others. I have seen the band three times over the past four years and will make it a point to attend whenever possible.

Track Listing:
1. At The Gates Of Manala
2. End Of Me (Gavin Rossdale)
3. Not Strong Enough (Brent Smith)
4. 2010 (Dave Lombardo)
5. Through Paris In A Sportscar *
6. Beautiful
7. Broken Pieces (Lacey)
8. On The Rooftop With Quasimodo
9. Bring Them To Light (Joseph Duplantier)
10. Sacra
11. Rage Of Poseidon
12. The Shadow Of Venus *

Official Website: http://www.apocalyptica.com

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