Rating:
7.2
Apocalyptica - 7th Symphony
23 August 2010


Disc I
01. At The Gates Of Manala
02. End Of Me [feat. Gavin Rossdale]
03. Not Strong Enough [feat. Brent Smith]
04. 2010 [feat. Dave Lombardo]
05. Through Paris In A Sportscar [deluxe bonus]
06. Beautiful
07. Broken Pieces [feat. Lacey]
08. On The Rooftop With Quasimodo
09. Bring Them To Light [feat. Joseph Duplantier]
10. Sacra
11. Rage Of Poseidon
12. The Shadow Of Venus [deluxe bonus]

Disc II [deluxe version bonus DVD]
01. Beautiful
02. Not Strong Enough
03. End Of Me
04. I Don't Care
05. Sacra
06. Bittersweet
07. Rage Of Poseidon [Loop]


A couple years ago when I first started listening to "heavy" music, 'Cult' was one of my very first metal albums. Of course my tastes in music have gone a long way since then, but so has Apocalyptica. What started out as a project by a couple of Finnish music students has turned into band with international mainstream appeal.

While the album has a couple songs that are obviously geared at the charts, it's actually pretty diverse. The radio-friendly songs are joined by a couple surprisingly heavy tracks like "Bring Them To Light" (with real growls!) and "2010", but also progressive pieces such as "At The Gates Of Manala" and "Rage Of Poseidon" and even songs harkening back to their acoustic beginnings like "Sacra". It's pretty obvious that the band tried to please a very broad audience, but in the end most listeners will end up liking only a fraction of the songs and not care about the rest. I doubt that many people will greatly enjoy both typical chart-rock songs like "Not Strong Enough" and the aggressive "2010" with Dave Lombardo that follows it up.

There are a couple of great songs in completely different styles on this album. For example "Broken Pieces" which sounds incredibly similar to the album 'The Heart Of Everything' by Within Temptation and "On The Rooftop With Quasimodo", a great instrumental with a lot of atmosphere. Nonetheless the band would probably be better off, if they knew what audience they want to reach. By trying to cater to different tastes they'll leave almost none completely satisfied and in the end the gap in quality between tracks might just be too big.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8


Band profile: Apocalyptica
Album: 7th Symphony


 


written by Bas | 28.10.2010



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Array - 28.10.2010 at 18:17  
I found this record too diverse. at the gates of manala starts something, which doesn't really continue. there are those radio hits following, which you mentioned. 2010 is like there's no Lombardo at all, not like when he for the first time visited apocalyptica and brought something fresh. then the record goes on, doesn't really annoy, gives another radio hit, trips in growls (why?), goes to a calm sacra (which i enjoy the most) and ends like it started to poseidon. sounds of the cellos are too clinical. it's morelike a compilation without being a one.
Jeeers - 28.10.2010 at 18:57  
A totally agree with review. Too diverse - the result is - I like only ~35% of songs.
In my opinion, "Cult" remains their best album - pure, serious and musically brilliant. After that, it's gets worse with every album.
They should stick to playing cellos and should remove all the unnecessary clutter like drums and guest singers.
CreeperDeath - 28.10.2010 at 21:44  
My favorite album is their self-titles one... Nothing can beat Ruska. My though on this album was the same as your review ! Not enough song like sacra or Rage of Posseidon, but too much unecessary guest vocals that remind their worst album World Collides. "I'm not strong enough to stay away from the band, but I'm strong enough to stay away from this song" - Me
K†ulu - 29.10.2010 at 00:37  
Wow, a cool review. My experience with Apocalyptica started with Cult too. After that I haven't been interested much. I haven't listened to the album, but I am pretty sure that your conclusions are right. I wish they played something raw like Inquisition Symphony or Cult again.
Raziel X - 29.10.2010 at 02:11  
Not that bad, pretty enjoyable... I like their stuff between Cult and Worlds Collide best... listening to Cult and Reflections the most

This one is still pretty ok
Ag Fox - 29.10.2010 at 06:39  
Written by K†ulu on 29.10.2010 at 00:37

Wow, a cool review. My experience with Apocalyptica started with Cult too. After that I haven't been interested much. I haven't listened to the album, but I pretty sure that your conclusions are right. I wish they played something raw like Inquisition Symphony or Cult again.
Haha, I started with Cult as well and your wish is mine's too

You are absolutely spot on, Bas
the stranger - 29.10.2010 at 08:14  
I really like this one as a whole. Maybe I'm just the only dude that really likes this.
anditcametopass - 29.10.2010 at 09:12  
Right on
Sunioj - 30.10.2010 at 01:29  
For some reason, I looked at the title and thought it read "Acapulco". Haha...

Anyways, sounds good. I'm going to check this one out PPPP
eltacoenojado - 04.11.2010 at 07:07  
I was a little dissapointed in this album, I espcialy hate that "pieces" song. thier 2nd and 3rd albums are without doubt their best work, but as a cello player myself I love to play along to all their stuff.
Rasa - 06.11.2010 at 13:58  
I totally agree with the reviewer. To please mainstream listeners and more "serious" people are too hard in one album.
Daggon - 07.11.2010 at 01:22  
I think you are right Bas. But hey, really, listening to some of their older songs make me wonder if they still enjoy what they do, I mean, the used to play stronger songs like "Fight Fire With Fire" or even "Inquisition Symphony" and now they play shit like "Broken (fuckin') Pieces"? Really, do they really like to play this shit?

Even the instrumental songs lack of the heart and soul that their old masterpieces had, songs like "Hyperventilation" or "Toreador II" had something really different than "2010" or "At The Gates Of Manala", in the past their music had something to say, now their cellos are just mere mute instruments...

The only song that I like is "Bring Them To Light" (thanks to Joe Duplantier), but even that song gets old really fast.

Oh well, seems like they should rethink their music approach sooner or later, they can't keep on pleasing both groups of fans, and oh shit, they should stop inviting those lame vocalists to sing in their albums.
Milena - 25.03.2011 at 10:58  
The unnecessary diversity is the main problem here. I like to listen to an album as a whole, and not to judge it by songs like a lot of people do. And here I'm forced to do the same. I just can't forgive them for bringing limited vocalists into the picture, 'cos some of those songs deserve better than that, and not just on this album, some 70% of people who sang Apocalyptica's vocal tracks are lame the progressive bits are good, but they could be a lot better, and the heavy bits are nice too-I'm just having problems with chart-rock on the other hand and people who don't know how to sing on the other.
Muse of Light - 23.05.2011 at 16:58  
From a musician's perspective, it is not always about pleasing the audience - it is also about experimentation and development both as individuals and as a group. A musician is not being true to his or her art if she merely takes the highest-selling concept and runs with it, and that is all they ever do. The men of Apocalyptica are not this kind. They are (Mikko included) classically trained musicians with degrees in music, and I have found that classically trained musicians (myself included) take a drastically different viewpoint about what music can and should be than standard pop or rock musicians.

For my part, there was really only one song I didn't like on the album. I enjoyed all the rest of them, partly because I have a broad taste in music, and partly because I saw, and have seen, real musical growth on Apocalyptica's part since I began listening to them. That is really more of what matters than selling millions of records. Far too many people simply listen to what they know, and don't reach out to really try new music. I would be willing to bet that the metal fans completely bypassed a track when they heard it had classical beginnings, and vice versa for the classical musicians with metal.

Most of the people I have played this album for have been willing to give all of it a chance, and listened to the songs in their entirety before drawing conclusions. That may be what else is at play here - that not only is Apocalyptica adept with both metal and classical, but challenged their audiences to try them both on and see how they fit. That is a concept I can relate to, and as a musician, one I can definitely respect.
Troy Killjoy - 23.05.2011 at 17:28  
Written by Muse of Light on 23.05.2011 at 16:58

They are (Mikko included) classically trained musicians with degrees in music, and I have found that classically trained musicians (myself included) take a drastically different viewpoint about what music can and should be than standard pop or rock musicians.

For my part, there was really only one song I didn't like on the album. I enjoyed all the rest of them, partly because I have a broad taste in music, and partly because I saw, and have seen, real musical growth on Apocalyptica's part since I began listening to them. That is really more of what matters than selling millions of records. Far too many people simply listen to what they know, and don't reach out to really try new music. I would be willing to bet that the metal fans completely bypassed a track when they heard it had classical beginnings, and vice versa for the classical musicians with metal.

While I respect your musical background and viewpoint, how can you say an album like this is anything but standard pop or rock? Sure they're classically trained and - assuming they are in fact doing what they want - not whoring themselves out to their fanbase, but what makes this album in any way shape or form a deviation from typical radio-friendly music? A couple cellos and some forgettable guest vocals?

As for the band growing, I would argue the opposite. I think they've been working themselves into a corner ever since they got away from the Metallica covers - which is saying something about their songwriting ability. A vast majority of their songs are filler tracks at best, and their albums as a whole lack both atmosphere and direction. This band isn't "new music" to try or something "different", it's the same style of music most metal fans try to avoid in the first place, based on the band's obvious ties to the "popular" aesthetic - trying to please everyone at once.

If that's what a drastically different viewpoint is, I'm glad to be out of the loop.
Muse of Light - 27.05.2011 at 02:32  
I can say that because of one simple fact - it isn't. While I'm not going to argue that you should like the album just because, from a theoretical standpoint there are several songs on this album that are musically complex, and to my ear, more interesting - The Shadow of Venus is one example, Rage of Posedon another, and Beautiful, while it may sound simple, requires some pretty serious focus because of the counterpoint and both legato and vibrato combined in the string manipulation. To be honest, I'm tempted to say that if you detect absolutely no complexity and deviation from your everyday radio-played music, you're simply not paying enough attention.

I disagree. Since they started straying away from Metallica covers (which I can't say I was unhappy about - while I loved many of their covers, I was equally and often more often pleased with their original material), I think they have been doing a great deal of experimentation in terms of finding their own personal style as a group - not just as a Metallica cover band. That takes time, collaboration, and a lot of writing. Defining one's personal style is a process that takes years to achieve, and again, from a musician's standpoint, I can speak to the truth of this. Most of the bands we hear on the radio either are put into a box by a label and have their music written for them, or were a band for many, many years before they became popular enough to be played on your local rock/pop/whatever station. Metallica is what made Apocalyptica popular, and over time, they began to insert more of their own material into the albums they produced, and finally, producing works that included no Metallica covers at all. While I will freely acknowledge that that was a business decision (let it never be said that the business side of music should go neglected), it allowed the band to maintain popularity and make a living while still being able to express themselves musically outside of simply covering Metallica songs.

Again, I'm not arguing that you should like the album just because. It's not for everyone, like every other album ever produced in history. However, I think the idea that they're just putting out your standard rock and pop is absolute nonsense, and I'm not just saying that because I like the band. I haven't loved everything they produced, but as I spend a good deal of time analyzing music, I do think it's important for listeners to think critically about what they listen to, why they like it or don't like it, what it is, and more importantly, what it is not.
Troy Killjoy - 28.05.2011 at 00:29  
Written by Muse of Light on 27.05.2011 at 02:32

...

As it stands we're simply involved in a glorified genre debate, so for the sake of both my sanity and yours, I'll agree to disagree. Thanks for the mature and constructive argument, however. It's always nice to read well-formed opinions.
Muse of Light - 05.06.2011 at 20:08  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 28.05.2011 at 00:29

Written by Muse of Light on 27.05.2011 at 02:32

...

As it stands we're simply involved in a glorified genre debate, so for the sake of both my sanity and yours, I'll agree to disagree. Thanks for the mature and constructive argument, however. It's always nice to read well-formed opinions.


Agreed. You are a gentleman and a scholar, sir.

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